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EXCLUSIVE & UPDATED: More than a third of Thurlow Nunn League clubs face missing out on FA Cup and FA Vase next season

UPGRADE NEEDED: A game under the lights at Stowmarket Town earlier this season
UPGRADE NEEDED: A game under the lights at Stowmarket Town earlier this season

Fifteen clubs in the Thurlow Nunn League face missing out on playing in the lucrative FA cup competitions next season if they fail to meet a floodlight inspection standard, we can reveal.

Peter Hutchings, the chairman of the Thurlow Nunn League, has said out of the 42 clubs across the Premier and First divisions there are 15 who have been informed by the league that they need their floodlights inspected, in accordance with The FA’s National Ground Grading guidelines.

MEETS THE GRADE: Newmarket Town's revamped Ridgeons Stadium
MEETS THE GRADE: Newmarket Town's revamped Ridgeons Stadium

Stowmarket Town are one of the first of the contingent to comply with the need for an inspection and have subsequently revealed the improvements they need to make to meet the grade will cost £10,000.

Club officials from the Old Gold and Blacks are currently appealing to their supporters and sponsors to raise the money required through a crowd-funding website, as we reported earlier today.

Stowmarket, who went top of the Thurlow Nunn League First Division at the weekend, were informed that if they did not make the necessary upgrades to their floodlights they would not only miss out on playing in the FA Cup, FA Vase and FA Youth Cup next season, but would also not be eligible for promotion into the Premier Division.

Under the 1.12 Floodlighting section in Grades F and G, which covers the Premier and First divisions respectively, it states: ‘The lux values must be tested every two years in accordance with current guidelines by an approved independent contractor.

‘Floodlights must be retested after any significant alterations. Existing certification will be accepted provided that the test was carried out within the last two years unless work has been carried out at the ground which may have affected previous readings.’

It is understood that the clubs only have until March 31 for their floodlights to be inspected.

Non-league clubs have until April 1 to submit their applications to play in FA cup competitions for the 2017/18 season.

An investigation by our sports desk this afternoon has revealed that Premier Division Long Melford and First Division Halstead Town have both been notified they will need to have their floodlights inspected by the end of next month.

It is understood the clubs playing at parent Ryman League grounds fall under the Ground Grading guidelines for Steps 3 and 4.

Bury Town director Chris Ward said Ram Meadow’s floodlights - the ground which Team Bury share - meet the requirements for Ryman League football however he did add the club wishes to upgrade them in the future.

Clubs who have been contacted and said they have no inspections impending this season are:

* Debenham LC

* Diss Town

* Framlingham Town

* Haverhill Rovers

* Hadleigh United

* Ely City

* Mildenhall Town

* Newmarket Town

* Walsham-le-Willows

* Thetford Town

Newmarket Town had the opposite problem with their new floodlights at their revamped Ridgeons Stadium having to be turned down earlier this season due to the glare emanating into a near by house.

Framlingham Town were inspected at the start of the season following their promotion to the Thurlow Nunn League, from the Touchline Suffolk & Ipswich League Senior Division.

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