Breaking: Men’s Football Team Banned from Varsity

9th January 2015

The University of Nottingham Students Union has told URN Sport that the University’s Men’s Football Team have been banned from participating in the 2015 Varsity Series.

The decision follows a sports disciplinary hearing which found that the team broke the Students’ Union Code of Conduct. Having initially been disciplined before Christmas, URN has learnt that the team’s appeal against the report has failed and have subsequently been punished.

The team was found to have broken the sections of the Code of Conduct which states that teams must hold social events which are ‘ethical and non-degrading’, and that they ‘should not use initiation events’.

Having been found guilty of breaking these clauses, the team have faced a number of punishments, most notably their ban from Varsity 2015. The fixture will continue to take place as planned, however now will consist of a University of Nottingham team made up of players selected from IMS teams. No player registered with the football team will be allowed to participate in Varsity, although the club will be able to help coach, train and select the side.

In addition, the Men’s Third Team Captain has been removed with immediate effect, whilst the club’s President is under suspension until the 30th March 2015, meaning that if any of the disciplinary sanctions are not met he will also be removed.

These disciplinary sanctions include a suspended fine of £1500, an instruction that all Committee members are to undergo re-training before the 31st of January and that they must all complete 10 hours sports service (such as umpiring IMS matches) for the Students’ Union by the 31st of May.

The Students’ Union told URN that:

‘The SU would like to make it clear that it takes reports of breaking the Code of Conduct such as this seriously and follows a consistent disciplinary procedure to prevent this from happening. We hope the student body can recognise that behaviour resulting in breaches of the code of conduct is not acceptable or appropriate. The decision was made in partnership with the UoN Sport department and the club have been informed.’

The news follows a similar event last year, when the University of Nottingham Men’s Rugby team were banned from the 2014 edition of Varsity following an initiation ceremony.

The Varsity Series this year is to be held in a brand new slot, condensed into a 2 week period between the 27th of April and 6th of May.

We will bring you more news on this story as it breaks, so remember to like our URN Sport Facebook Page and follow us on Twitter @URNSport.

Keep tuned to URN1350, your number one Varsity source.

Statement from Nottingham University Men’s Football Club

The University of Nottingham Football Club have released the following statement in response to the news:

‘Following an incident that occurred last year, there have been a number of sanctions imposed upon the men’s football club by the Students’ Union. These sanctions have been extensive, ranging from conditions such as the undertaking of voluntary community service, to the decision to remove our first team from competing in the Varsity fixture against Nottingham Trent. Whilst the club will not divulge the intricacies of the case, we feel it is important that the student body are made aware of our current stance. In relation to the punishments imposed upon both the club and the committee, we feel that they have been extremely excessive and are not in keeping with the punishments of other clubs within the university, who have been deemed to have committed far worse offences. The club believes that being made an example of is an understandable form of deterrent, however this deterrent loses considerable value when it is not consistent and applied in the same manner to all clubs who are alleged to have committed offences. Although it was deemed that a breach had occurred, the facts of the case were far from straightforward. This is reflected in our attempts to appeal the original decision and subsequently this right to appeal being accepted by the Students’ Union . Although the appeal lodged was largely unsuccessful, the club felt it crucial to convey our views to the appeals panel and pursue our right to defend ourselves.

With regards to Varsity, the club are aware of what this fixture means to the vast majority of the student body, and as such we are devastated that we will no longer be able to perform due to an isolated incident. Representing your university at Varsity is what makes 7am training sessions, constant fitness tests and hours of devotion to the club worthwhile, and to have this taken away is extremely disappointing. The knock on effects of this are also severe, with Nottingham Trent losing a fixture against the men’s football club that they undoubtedly relish, as well as the club no longer being able to participate and support an event that raises both money and awareness for charity.

Nonetheless, the football club will now look to the future and attempt to finish the season strongly. There is a fantastic spirit within the club, from the newest members who have settled in incredibly well, to the more senior members who continue to be exemplary in their leadership. This has, and always will be a key feature of our club. The club hopes that this statement provides some clarity on our position at the current time and our disappointment regarding recent events. We would also like to ask that the pursuit of statements from members within the club is avoided during this busy exam period, with which we wish the entire student body the best of luck.’