Match 45
2nd April 1974
Scunthorpe (Away)

This match was not played.

"In the 1973–74 season, City refused to fulfill their away fixture against Scunthorpe United, which resulted in Scunthorpe being awarded the two points. City were experiencing severe financial difficulties which had restricted the club to a small squad of players. City then had an injury crisis which left them with only eight registered players that were fit. The Football League refused to postpone the game, despite City explaining that they would have to field unregistered players in order to fulfill the fixture. As a result, City did not turn up to the game and were fined £5,000 by the League plus a further £1,334 to compensate Scunthorpe and pay for the match officials' expenses. The League's reason for refusing City's request was their impatience with uneconomic clubs and their acceptance that some would go bankrupt."

EXETER are almost certain to against appealthe Football League's decision to fine them £5,000 for failing to fulfil a Fourth Division fixture at Scunthorpe on April 2 when, they claim, they had only nine fit players available, including two goalkeepers.

Gerald Vallance, the club chairman, who admitted he was "shattered" by the League's action, said last night that an emergency board meeting would be called, probably this weekend, to discuss an appeal. If the matter is referred to the FA's Board of Appeal let us hope Exeter are given a rather more sympathetic hearing than they appear to have received from the League management committee. Even allowing that Exeter, no matter how hard pressed, were foolish to ignore the League's instruction to go to Scunthorpe, they have been treated harshly. Indeed, few will disagree with Mr Vallance's comment that the League "have looked for every single pound they could clobber Exeter with "
To a Fourth Division club a fine of £5,000 is equivalent to the imposition of a penalty of at least £50,000 on a First Division member. And the League record, for far more serious offences, is only £10.000. In the circumstances, the management committee have left themselves open to a revival of the oft-quoted accusation that they make one law for the rich and another for the poor. Exeter, in my view, had a rather better case for being allowed to rearrange their fixture than have some some First Division clubs, who have appeared to be able to switch dates merely to suit their convenience.

Medical evidence

The club doctor had issued certificates stating that nine players were unfit-four suffering from influenza, five from other illnesses or injury. Yet the League refused two applications for postponement of matches against Peterborough, on March 30, and Scunthorpe, three days later. and refused Peterborough So Exeter played to travel to Scunthorpe. I would suggest the £1,026 com- pensation they have been ordered to pay Scunthorpe, plus a fine of £1,000 would have been adequate punishment.



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