Lancers fail to achieve Ryman League ground grading

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LANCING Football Club will not be playing Ryman League football next season after failing their ground grading.

Lancers’ fantastic season has seen them battling for one of the promotion spots at the top of County League Division 1, but even if they do finish in the top two, Culver Road has, surprisingly, not passed an inspection by Ryman officials.

Lancers rent the ground from the Sussex FA, who own the ground and whose headquarters are based at the site.

And, despite the Culver Road ground being one of the best in the county – playing home to Brighton & Hove Albion Reserves and hosting England under-19 and Albion’s senior team’s training sessions, it has failed strict guidelines to allow Ryman League football to be played there.

The ground failed because of a lack of outside toilets, the hard standing around the ground stops short of the pitch barriers, and other small points, such as signs and the press facilities need additions, such as lights.

Some of these were expected and had been planned for but others, such as the work to extend the hard standing, could not be completed by the March 31 deadline.

As much as the results have frustrated the club, they are now looking to work with their landlords, the Sussex FA, who must carry out the work, to bring the improvements in place, so if they are again in the position to, they can apply again next season.

Lancing secretary Paul Blann said: “We applied to join the Ryman League for two reasons. One, at the time, we knew we were around the top three or four and, should we finish in the top two, we would have a chance to go up, and also to tell our players, staff, County League, the Herald and anyone we mean business.”

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“Without saying, both us and The FA believed, with the exception of a few minor, things we would pass, we knew about the toilets and lights and things on a press bench we had been planned for.

“We knew we would have the required work done by the deadline so have thought ahead for a year, and The FA have thought the same.

“We have a great relationship with the Sussex FA and I am sure they are behind us. What benefits us as a ground also benefits them so yes they are committed to getting the work done.”