Tuesday 25 October 2016

Over 50s walking football club responds to claims match was abandoned following 'mass brawl'

Published 21/02/2016 | 17:47

A walking football club for over 50s has hit back at claims that a recent match was abandoned following a mass brawl after just two minutes.

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It was reported by numerous media outlets in England that the match between Canterbury Walking Football Club and Herne Bay Walking Football Club was called off when a row broke out between the players - aged between 50 and 70.

Walking football is designed for retired players who tog out and play for 20 minutes in each half with no physical contact allowed.

But when Canterbury met Herne Bay recently, bad blood was reportedly evident from before the kick off and it wasn't long before there was scuffles with both sets of players involved.

Kent online also reported that the referee was also involved in the malee.

The incident first came to light when Canterbury posted a match report on their website. “No bodily harm was incurred in the game and the evening ended with both teams enjoying a chat, a beer and some grub, albeit in separate pubs," read one line from the report.

“It was all a storm in a tea cup really. Herne Bay have some excellent players and play neat football, and I’m sure this will all be ironed out.”

But Canterbury have moved to play down the incident with their chairman John Lennox posting a statement on the club's website playing down the incident.

Lennox posted the following clarification:

  • There was no “huge brawl”
  • Canterbury Walking football Club fully supports the decisions of the referee
  • There was no “replay” of the league match. Players decided to use the time left of the hour the pitched was booked for to play a game
  • The ‘league” is an informal series of games between 7 clubs from towns throughout Kent and has no formal structure
  • The league is not affiliated to or sanctioned by the Kent FA in any way
  • Home and Away matches against the other 5 clubs have all passed without incident and in a good friendly spirit
  • Match reports are always written in a light hearted, humorous style
  • The cartoon in the Kentish Gazette is excellent
  • ‘League” games are not the primary focus of Canterbury Walking Football Club. We hold 3 sessions of walking football every week for over 50’s wanting to stay fit and enjoy playing the game they love at a slower pace
  • Being competitive doesn’t mean breaking the rules
  • We would recommend that any players feeling frustrated about not being able to run when playing walking football should rather join a veterans team to play 5/6/11-a-side games that allow running.

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