SWPL: Aberdeen Ladies face points forfeit for failing to fulfil Spartans fixture

Courtney Whyte heads home Georgie Rafferty's corner kick
Aberdeen, who were beaten 6-1 by Celtic at the weekend, are bottom of the SWPL 1

Aberdeen Ladies are calling for an investigation after they "were forced to withdraw" from Wednesday's Scottish top-flight fixture against Spartans.

They refused to travel, saying many of their players were unable to make it to Edinburgh for the 19:45 BST kick-off in the Scottish Women's Premier League.

"We hope and urge that a retrospective investigation is held into the handling of this issue," said a club statement.

"We feel that we have been punished for living in a more remote area."

The SWPL management committee is expected to make a ruling this week.

Scottish Women's Football (SWF) has stressed that two midweek fixtures were required this season because of this year's Euro 2017 finals.

Aberdeen say they have been told they they must forfeit the points for not travelling to the game.

"The SWPL is not a professional league, with the vast majority of players either in full-time work or full-time education alongside their intense football commitment," they said.

"A midweek fixture understandably presents Aberdeen, in particular, with major logistical problems based on travel times and work/education."

Aberdeen pointed out their players would have needed to leave work, school or college by 13:00 BST and leave the city by 14:00-14:30 in order to reach Edinburgh in time, with financial implications for those in work and education difficulties for those involved during exam time for schools, colleges and universities.

"Getting players out of this is impossible and in our opinion irresponsible," Aberdeen said.

The club stressed they were sympathetic towards the need to accommodate preparations for Scotland's participation at the Euro finals.

'To say we are frustrated is an understatement'

However, they say that, despite "tirelessly attempting" to find an alternative date for the fixture, "the SWF informed the club that it would have no choice but to play the game".

"The club then took this to an official SWF appeals panel, who have also astoundingly rejected our appeal," they said.

The club then approached the Scottish FA judicial committee but were informed that "they could not take on the case due to time constraints".

"To say that we are frustrated and disappointed over this result and how it has been handled is an understatement and feel it sends a dangerous message to clubs across the country," Aberdeen stated.

The club requested a change in March but could not mutually agree on a date with Spartans other than Sunday, 21 May, which clashes with the League Cup final between Hibernian and Celtic.

Aberdeen were due to be playing on Sunday anyway because Glasgow City were subsequently granted permission to bring forward an August fixture because several of the latter's players will be on Scotland duty at the European Under-19 Championship finals in Northern Ireland.

But Aberdeen said later on Wednesday that they will not now fulfil Sunday's rearranged fixture.

A spokeswoman for the SWF said: "Last season, there were no midweek league fixtures at all, as SWF are sympathetic to the fact that many of our players are in full-time work or education.

"With the Euros this year and the extended league breaks, due to international games, we had no choice but to introduce two midweek fixtures for SWPL1 clubs this season. The fixtures were announced in January.

"The fixture midweek in August [Aberdeen v Glasgow City] now cannot go ahead because the under-19s qualified for the Euros.

"As a result, Glasgow City were granted permission to play this 'rescheduled' match on Sunday, 21 May.

"The Spartans v Aberdeen decision has not been granted a postponement because it is an original fixture date."

Aberdeen are bottom of the eight-team SWPL1, with two points from seven games, while Spartans are in fourth place.

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