An open letter to the Football League’s Shaun Harvey


Dear Mr Harvey,

I was surprised and disappointed to see that Bradford City had been fined £3,000 for not breaking any of the EFL Trophy’s rules over the course of the group stage, and have a few questions regarding this ruling.

In 2011, when Sheffield Wednesday subbed their goalkeeper after a minute and made two further subs before the 20 minute mark, were they fined?  If not, why fine Bradford City now?

If substituting a player within the first two minutes is considered a breach of the spirit of the rules, when does it become acceptable to make a substitution?

If Colin Doyle had been injured within the first two minutes of the game against Bury, would we have had to leave him on until an “acceptable” minute for a substitution?

If Colin Doyle had limped off after two minutes, would you have required proof of the injury in order to make a substitution?  If not, this leaves an obvious workaround where a player feigns an injury to make this sort of sub – why would you encourage teams to ask their players to feign injury?

If, after 10 minutes, we had swapped one outfielder for another and gone below the total number of required first-teamers, would this have been acceptable?  What if there was an obvious tactical reason for the change, like a switch in formation?  If not, when is the earliest you can make a substitution in this competition?

The big focus on the competition this season has been youth development.  Bradford City have played seven teenage academy products in this year’s competition – five of which made their senior debuts in it.  Why, then, do we have to abide by rules that limit the number of academy products we can play?  Why do Blackburn, who are a grand total of three places above us in the league pyramid, get to field a reserve team while we cannot?  Is youth development only important for the “big teams”?

This competition has been shambolically run from start to finish and every round leads to a new bit of bad publicity.  It could well kill a competition that I’ve quite enjoyed in the past, and that gives lower league teams a chance of a day out at Wembley.  Having severely damaged one of the competitions that it is in your remit to promote and improve, will you resign?

Kind Regards,

Tim Penfold and The Width of a Post team.

Categories: Opinion

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12 replies

  1. Not a great week for Shaun Harvey, what with the Whole Game Solution being scrapped. *Shock horror* the FA weren’t willing to sabotage their own tournament for the idiotic 20 team division plan.

    Throw it in with the bizarre clampdown on in-stadium social media and you have a man who is just out of touch with modern football.

  2. Well said, this whole debacle is leaving us with very negative feelings towards this cup, and I don’t want to go and watch.

  3. You are ,of course, correct in what you say. But City did rather put two fingers up at the rules, and the FL’s reaction has been predictably childish. I notice that they have continued their long-standing vendetta against Luton Town.
    What is important is the incompetence and venality of the FA and FL. They force 10-year olds to play on full-size mudbaths with full-size goals in the middle of winter, they ignore abuse of match officials by players and show-off managers , they allow crooks to buy football clubs , encourage the over-use in the top leagues of foreign players. They slap West Ham on the wrist for a serious breach, when everyone knows Sheffield United would have been relegated for the same offence. Further back, they relegated Swindon and Port Vale, but let Tottenham off for a similar offence.
    They manufacture a dispute with FIFA over poppies when any sensible person could have worked out a totally sensible compromise.
    They can pick on City and the others because they are not “top” teams.
    YET, football is such a good game, and ,when I go to Valley Parade last Saturday and see that display FROM CITY, I love it.

  4. Saun harvey assistant to Geoffrey Richmond need I say anymore oh forgot assistant to Bates at Leeds what a joke

  5. Can fans/members add their/name support to the letter and turn it into a fully fledged campaign against the injustice we are witnessing here? I for one would like to add my full backing and support and feel that a substantial number of our fans will feel exactly the same.

  6. 240 people crowded in the Hawthorns to watch WBA In a meaningless game in this competition .

  7. Given Mr.Harvey’s past record of “running” or should than be “ruining” football clubs what makes him a fit and proper person to run OUR game? There are many issues in the game from grassroots to the ownership & mismanagement of league clubs, yet he is issuing fines to clubs that can, in some cases, ill afford the loss of revenue for the lets be honest because his vanity has been offended by his plans failure.

    For all that it good for the game, please EFL get this man away from our sport before it is too late.

  8. Just by creating rules about how many changes can be made they’re acknowledging they run a sub-standard competition. As per the article if it really is about the youth development why can’t we also play u21’s if we choose?

  9. Shaun Harvey costing City £3000, well it’s less than he did last time. I saw someone say to pay it in a 1p pieces. That would be funny.

    • It would be funny but, as someone pointed out on Twitter, they’ll just take it out of the winnings. So other than appealing the fine, there isn’t anything the club can do 😦

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