National League clubs have appeal rejected
One National League North side and Three from National League South have lost their appeals against the Football Association's (FA) decision to not allow them into the play-offs as they have failed to meet ground-grading standards.
A short statement from the FA said "At a hearing of an FA Board of Appeal held today (26th April), appeals lodged by the following clubs against exclusion by The National League to participate in 'End of Season Play Offs' were rejected. This means that Darlington 1883 FC from the National League North as well as three clubs from the National League South, Hungerford Town, Poole Town and Wealdstone will be unable to compete in the play offs regardless of their final league position.
Darlington 1883 reacted to the news by saying "The Football Association have officially informed us that our appeal against not being allowed to participate in the play offs has been rejected. This therefore means that regardless of our finishing position, we will still be playing in the Vanarama National League North next season. The club will make no further comment on the matter on any of its media outlets".
Following the outcome of the hearing Wealdstone Chairman Peter Marsden and Vice-Chairman Nick Archer said “Whilst this is disappointing news, as a club we have done everything to make our case as strong as we possibly could in very unusual and constantly changing circumstances. The players and management team have done a fantastic job in bringing us as close as possible to a play-off position but, most importantly, we are ready for a promotion challenging campaign next season”
The manager of Hungerford Town, Bobby Wilkinson, said he was "devastated" and he went on to say "I'm gutted, we are all gutted here. It feels like maybe, as a club, we could have missed an opportunity. I always believed in my players and myself that we could reach the play-offs and continue this wonderful success story we have at Hungerford Town"
This means that if Darlington 1883 finish in the top 5 then 6th place (currently Chorley) will enter the play offs in and play 2nd place. In the National League South it is looking more complicated. Either Poole Town or Hungerford Town will finish 5th place with the other finishing 6th. This means that Hampton & Richmond Borough will qualify for the play offs if they were to finish 7th, however, if they were to lose and Wealdstone were to win they would finish 8th behind 3 excluded clubs. Some reports suggest that if this was to happen then Hampton & Richmond would also be unable to qualify for the play offs as they have finished too low to be given a reprieve. If this was to happen then 2nd place (Maidenhead or Ebbsfleet) would automatically go through to the play off final and play the winner of Chelmsford City vs Dartford.