A BITTER row between two rival committees is threatening to tear Arklow Town FC apart.
The dispute, which has now seen both parties enlisting the services of solicitors, came to a head last week when Gardai attended the weekly club bingo at Bridgewater Centre Park as control of the bingo was sought by one committee from another.
The dispute arises out of differences of opinion regarding the setting up of a contract with Sheffield United soccer club in England that saw the best players from the club receiving the opportunity to play soccer in an academy over there.
A concerned supporters club that included people such as Michael Morgan, Brian Rees and several others, who had been involved with the club for many years, voiced their unhappiness with the situation claiming that they had been contacted by parents and supporters who complained about "the influx of players from outside of Arklow depriving local players of a chance to play with their own club."
However the committee at the time, which included Noel McDonald as chairman, strongly disagreed and it is this difference of opinion that has now festered into an open dispute.
Prior to the club's AGM last June, a letter, obtained by the Wicklow People, was circulated to all members which warned that "these 'Concerned Supporters' may bring their agenda to the AGM and if enough club members agree with their 'vision' for the club then these current committee members will take their leave of the club and wish the incoming committee well in their task".
The above appeared to come to pass and the committee and a large amount of club members walked out of the AGM which saw Michael Morgan proposed and seconded as the new chairman along with an entirely new committee.
However on November 16 last a Special General Meeting took place in Lamberton and a new committee was elected despite claims by the existing committee elected in June that the rules of the club constitution had not been followed as they claim that financial records had not been handed over in the intervening time.
Presently there are two committees contesting control of Arklow Town FC. Following the Special General Meeting on November 16 the Wicklow People received a press release from the new committee led by Owen Moore as chairman.
This press release has since been withdrawn by the new committee.
The other committee headed by Brian Rees claim that "we have not gone away" and they are demanding a full and independent review.