Chairman quits amidst Bashley investigation

By Connor Steel

AFC PORTCHESTER have announced that club chairman Paul Kelly has resigned on a short term basis from the On-Site Group Stadium, pending a Hampshire FA investigation into an unknown incident at their home clash versus Bashley ten days ago.

The two sides met on January 29 in Portchester as the visitors ended their hosts’ long unbeaten run with a 2-1 win, which also saw Zak Sharp sent off late on. It is believed the incident occurred after full time, although no official word has been confirmed.

Hampshire FA and the Wessex League are investigating the circumstances of the incident, with no detailed timeframe released by either club or officials. Evidence could include speaking to witnesses, referees and delegates; alongside players of both sides.

Portchester club statement

An official statement from the club reads: “AFC Portchester chairman Paul Kelly has taken the decision to temporarily step away from his role as chairman with immediate effect. This follows an incident which took place after the final whistle of our home game with Bashley on Saturday, January 29.”

“While investigations are ongoing into what happened and until they are completed, Paul has taken the decision to take some time out from his duties as chairman. Vice chairman Graeme Moir will temporarily take on the chairman’s role until Paul returns. The club and Paul will be making no further comment at this time.”

Joint statement

In a joint statement the two clubs released last Friday, they stated:  “AFC Portchester and Bashley FC wish to acknowledge that an incident at the end of the match between the two sides on Saturday, January 29, is currently under investigation. At this time both clubs are helping the FA with their inquiries and both clubs have been in dialogue with each other to review the incident and find ways of moving forwards together – particularly as the teams are due to meet again in the Wessex League Premier Division on February 12.”

“Both clubs have welcomed the opportunity to reach out to each other and work together to bring the matter to a conclusion as soon as is reasonably possible, and try to find amicable solutions to the issues generated on the match day. Bashley FC have noted AFC Portchester chairman Paul Kelly’s decision to temporarily step away from this role and the ongoing process club officials are working through internally on the matters arising from the incident.”

“AFC Portchester have been working closely with club officials at Bashley FC since the match and have welcomed the open, honest dialogue which has been ongoing between the two clubs and this will continue until matters are resolved amicably for all parties. The officials, players and football management teams from both clubs will be making no further comment at this time.”

The two sides will clash in the reverse Wessex League Premier fixture on February 12, kicking off at 3pm at the Glen Mex Stadium in Bashley; both sides looking to continue fine form as they look to maintain a late promotion push to the Southern League.

PICTURED BY DANIEL HASWELL: Two teams clash during the ninety minutes before unknown incident occurred after full time.