Praise from referees

Referees have not been slow to praise EMPAL sides this season for their conduct both on and off the pitch, so congratulations and thanks to all those who have helped us retain old and recruit new officials for the benefit of all:

Ben Scott: Netherfield Albion v Fanzines United A 25.10.15
“Great game today, really enjoyed it. Both teams wanting to play, a real credit to the league. ”

Haydn Hollis: Hucknall Warriors v FC Olympico 25.10.15
“I just wanted to drop you a message to say thank you for the cup game at Hucknall on Sunday morning at such late notice. I enjoyed going there and would love to go there again. Hucknall Warriors made every effort to make me as a referee feel welcome and they deserve big credit for this.”

James Tewson: Kimberley MWR v AFC Southside 1.11.2015
“Away team (Southside) very professional.”

Lee Chappell: Fanzines United A v Monkey Tree 15.11.2015
“Thoroughly enjoyed refereeing the match. A credit to both teams.”

League Survey Results

Thank you all clubs who responded to the recent League survey. We had an 80% response rate, and a number of questions were raised. The committee has met on two occasions to discuss the survey and the points raised in it, and below are our responses to specific question which we hope provide an insight to some of the issues we face. If any clubs wish to follow up on anything said below, please email the league secretary, Andy Williams, in the first instance.


Lobby the FA for increased action on grassroots football facilities, cost etc

Notts FA are proactive in lobbying local authorities in regards to both the cost of hire and the quality of provision. Unfortunately, local authorities nowadays do not have the funds or resources they did even five years ago to devote to recreational activities and so the situation is unlikely to change. However, we will continue to liaise with Notts FA. Equally as disappointing, the Nottingham City of Football initiative has largely proved itself disinterested in promoting grassroots football at a competitive level.


Additional cup competition for individual divisions

The Committee’s feeling is that, generally, clubs already have enough fixtures and the addition of any further would add to increased congestion (75% of clubs have played end of season midweek fixtures over the past two seasons). However, the Committee will consider whether a ‘plate’ competition for clubs knocked out of both the Notts FA and EMPAL Cups at an early stage is feasible.


Fine orientated, majority of meetings are concerned with them

Without wanting to appear flippant, if all clubs keep to the rule book there would be no need to mention them. So, with apologies to those clubs who don’t trouble the Treasurer, reminders remain a necessary evil.


Frequency of meetings, meetings getting shorter in length – could not information be relayed by email?

There is a requirement for the League to hold a minimum of three ‘open’ meetings per calendar year, and the committee fell it is important to retain a face to face element to their communication with clubs.


Improved assessment of new teams in regards of playing quality

All teams are interviewed by members of the committee before being recommended to member clubs for inclusion at the AGM. We also take references from the leagues those clubs are leaving, where relevant. In short, we do what we can to ensure that clubs are of a sufficient standard and behaviour, while acknowledging that occasionally, despite our best efforts, the odd unsuitable club proves itself to have been admitted, at which point we monitor and take appropriate action.


Increased use of on-line exposure via Twitter, Facebook etc

The League now has a blog, and further use of social media is being investigated.


Introduction of linesmen

The committee acknowledges that the ideal would be that if we were able to provide three officials for each game, but unfortunately the cost and a lack of available resource mean this is just not going to happen.


Lack of teams in the League / divisions

The League has had its fingers burnt in previous years when admitting teams simply to fill available places only to then find them not to be the type of clubs we necessarily want in EMPAL. Therefore, our maxim nowadays and going forward is quality not quantity. As per a previous answer, 75% of clubs over the past two season have had to play midweek games to ensure fixtures are completed so additional teams would only serve to exacerbate this problem.


Late cancellations should see the points awarded to the non-responsible team

The committee remain convinced that, wherever possible, points should be won on the pitch. However, the awarding of points does exist with the rules as an ultimate sanction and the committee will continue to review cases on a match-by-match basis.


Pre-season competition to help drum up players for the coming season

The League has tried to provide a five-a-side tournament for clubs in the past but this proved unsuccessful so we now feel it is best left to clubs themselves to arrange their own pre-season friendlies.


Remove roll-on/roll-off subs

Having proved itself successful as a pilot, this rule is now FA sanctioned up to and including level 7 of the league pyramid and removal would require the majority of clubs to be in favour.


Remove the signing on deadline

The deadline exists to prevent clubs bolstering squads late on in the season as trophy-winning games loom. However, special dispensation exists for genuine cases and the league will continue to consider cases on a case by case basis.


Remove teams with a win at all costs mentality and bully the referee and opposition

The committee takes indiscipline very seriously and continue to monitor all cases where reported. The committee has taken action in the past and will continue to do so where appropriate. An improvement in sporting marks and in overall disciplinary records hopefully indicates this. We are also investigating ways in which we could encourage more feedback on fair play etc


Scores displayed on the day

The committee are looking at providing this as part of our social media review and the new ‘real time’ reporting functionality on the Notts FA Full-time website.


Split fixtures more evenly to help with costs (home and away)

The League tries to ensure games are split evenly and the Full-time website allocates games on this basis but anomalies will occur where teams apply to miss a week, game are postponed, Cup fixtures take precedent etc


Stand-by referee’s for late postponements

Again, the League tries to ensure we have referee’s ‘in hand’ but availability will always be an issue.


Stronger stance on bad fouls and bad behaviour by referees

The League cannot influence referees or the decisions they make on the pitch. We do, however, follow up all reports of indiscipline.

New name on EMPAL Cup

Congratulations to New Inn Eastwood who added their name to the illustrious list of EMPAL Cup winners with a hard fought 2-1 win over Kimberley Miners Welfare after extra-time at Carlton Town on Sunday. Nobody present could remember a Cup Final kick-off ever being delayed for any reason, never mind due to one of the teams forgetting their kit but that’s exactly what happened after a bout of pre-match nerves got the better of New Inn’s kit man. Happily for the Eastwood side the ensuing frantic phone calls and mad dash from the pub (where the kit had been left the night before!) didn’t have an effect on the players as they took an early lead. Kimberley were soon level, however, and the game remained in the balance until Miners Welfare had a man sent off with eight minutes remaining. The ten men then hung on gamely until five minutes from the end of the extra half hour when New Inn hit the winner to provoke scenes of wild celebration.

It’s a double blow for Kimberley as the week before they lost their winner takes all title decider against Arnold Old Boys by a solitary goal, meaning the Arnold side retain the Division One crown after a season which ebbed and flowed to the last. Congratulation to them.

The final piece of silverware, the Division Three title, will be decided this Sunday, May 10, after the committee gave permission for the season to be extended a week to allow the deciding games, Butler Benfica v Total Reclaims Demolition and Caythrope v GCS, to go ahead.

It’s an EMPAL County Cup double!

Congratulations to Manvers Arms who became the second EMPAL side to land County Cup silverware this season, beating fellow EMPAL side Total Reclaims Demolition 3-1 in the Minor Cup Final at Arnold Town. The game was delicately balanced at 1-1 with 20 minutes to play but late goals from the deadly duo of Potts and Kirby ensured Manvers completed the Division 2 and Minor Cup double.

Congratulations to Clifton Dynamo

Congratulations to Clifton Dynamo who lifted the County Junior Cup on Thursday evening, defeating Archer 703 in dramatic circumstances. Dynamo came from 2-0 down at half-time to level at 2-2 and force extra-time, where three further goals saw them emerge victorious, 5-2.

EMPAL County Cup attention now moves to Tuesday and the Minor Cup Final betwene Manvers Arms and Total Reclaims Demolition, kick-off 7.30pm at Arnold Town FC.