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Page last updated at 13:05 GMT, Thursday, 9 July 2009 14:05 UK

Farsley given Conference reprieve

Farsley Celtic

Farsley Celtic will play in Blue Square North next season after a change of heart from the Football Conference.

Farsley were told last week that they were deemed ineligible to play in the competition because of financial problems at Throstle Nest.

But a Conference statement read: "In the specific and unique circumstances, the directors have taken a decision they feel will benefit all parties."

The club are in administration and will start next season on minus 10 points.

Farsley avoided a winding-up order by HM Revenue & Customs over unpaid taxes by going into administration on 1 July, but the Conference took the decision to kick them out of the league last week, leaving them with no league to play in as as all the alternative leagues' constitutions were set for the new season.

The West Yorkshire outfit got into financial trouble after selling a portion of their Throstle Nest ground but, as a result of the recession, have not been paid in full.

I hope that when the dust settles over this decision the league takes a long hard look at this rule. It is universally unpopular

Supporters club spokesman Phil Morris

The reprieve means Celtic will start the season in the Blue Square North albeit at the foot of the table with Northwich.

Football Conference chairman Brian Lee said: "The directors have acted very swiftly and with fairness in this matter and the announcement of our decision was only delayed until this morning (Thursday), while the legal position was clarified and to enable us to inform Farsley Celtic before our official statement was issued.

"We strongly remind all clubs, we expect them to honour their debts and that under Conference Rule 11 clubs are specifically required to settle all debts with football creditors."

The decision comes as a huge relief to Farsley supporters who had set up a fighting fund to help with the cost of hiring specialist sports lawyers to fight the initial decision.

"The supporters are obviously very pleased," said supporters club spokesman Phil Morris.

There's still a lot of financial problems at the club I do believe they will be overcome

President John Palmer

"This club has enough on its plate at the moment and battling with the league over this decision is the last thing it needed.

"We would like to thank the league for reviewing this decision promptly. We have, as fans, always accepted the principle that the leagues regard financial overstretching as trying to gain an unfair advantage, and have never thought that a points deduction anything but appropriate, but to simply make a club ineligible for membership seems very harsh.

"I hope that when the dust settles over this decision the league takes a long hard look at this rule. It is, from the comments that I have received from supporters of other clubs, universally unpopular."

However, club president John Palmer has urged caution as the club look to rebuild for the future; "There's still a lot of financial problems at the club," he told BBC Radio Leeds. "I do believe they will be overcome, I am an optimist. There's a lot of hard work going on to secure the future of the club."



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