Conference to deny Enfield promotion

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The Independent Online
Enfield won the Diadora League title eight days ago - but they are unable to celebrate promotion to the GM Vauxhall Conference. Along with Cheltenham, the runners-up in the Beazer Homes League, they have been refused admission to the GMVC on financial grounds.

The news came as a shock to the Middlesex club, who may now see their promotion place given to second-placed Slough Town, where Enfield won 4-1 last night to increase their lead to 12 points. "We're in profit, and we believe we've got the highest turnover in our league," Tony Lazarou, the Enfield chairman, said yesterday. "The decision was a surprise, it's left us in limbo and has taken the gloss off our title success."

Enfield are to appeal against the Conference verdict on 15 May, and are unwilling to discuss the reason for their rejection before then, although it is understood to involve alleged accounting problems. Cheltenham are not appealing.

Although the top two finishers in the three feeder leagues are eligible for promotion, Conference officials are inspecting the grounds of only three clubs next week: Morecambe, the UniBond League runners-up, on Tuesday and, the following day, Slough and the newly built stadium at Hednesford, the Beazer Homes League champions. Marine, the UniBond League champions, did not apply for promotion owing to the limitations of their ground.

Yeovil and Slough cannot escape from the GMVC relegation zone - but the problems faced by the promotion candidates could lead to a reprieve from the drop for at least one of the bottom three. Macclesfield, the champions, conclude their fixtures at home to Stevenage tomorrow.