The Sussex FA said Brighton’s continued involvement in the FA Youth Cup and the FA Cup was the reason for rescheduling tomorrow’s Sussex Senior Cup quarter-final against Eastbourne Town at the Saffrons.
Eastbourne Town manager John Lambert was furious with Wednesday’s call-off and insisted Brighton received preferential treatment from the Sussex FA.
Lambert also said that in a previous round of the Sussex Senior Cup this season, Seaford Town failed to raise a team against Bognor Regis and Bognor automatically advanced.
However, on this occasion, the Sussex FA opted to reschedule the match at the Saffrons due Brighton’s run in national cup competitions - including the under-18s impressive 3-1 victory at Manchester United last night.
A statement from the FA read, “FA competitions take precedence over the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup and we actively support all Sussex clubs progression in any national competition.
“We have in the past rescheduled Sussex Senior Challenge Cup fixtures due to clubs progression in The FA Buildbase Vase and The FA Buildbase Trophy, and in this situation the rearrangement is due to Brighton & Hove Albion FC competing in The FA Youth Cup last night, and playing in The Emirates FA Cup this weekend.
“The decision to reschedule the fixture was agreed in advance of the match with the Sussex County FA and with the full understanding and support of Eastbourne Town FC.”
A club statement from Brighton said, “Due to the number of fixtures currently being played by our younger age teams, including the FA Youth Cup at Manchester United last night, we asked the Sussex FA and Eastbourne Town if they would consider postponing the fixture. Sussex FA and Eastbourne Town kindly agreed to our request, and we will agree a new date in due course.”
Speaking earlier today, an upset Lambert complained, “The FA are giving Brighton special treatment. If we went to the FA and said ‘I have a few injuries and players unavailable and I want to change the date’ - there would be no chance. Absolutely no chance. We would have to play it. We would all be told, tough luck but you have to fulfil that fixture.
“Are you telling me a Premier League side, with the resources and the pool of players they have, can’t get a team to Eastbourne on a Wednesday - Do me a favour, don’t give me that. I’m fuming, absolutely livid!
“I can’t blame Brighton. They have tried it on and the FA have bowed down to them. Simple as that - they have received special treatment and it stinks.”