(Picture: PA Images)
Barnet chairman Anthony Kleanthous says he does not feel comfortable attending their FA Cup fourth round replay at Brentford on Tuesday night after accusing the club of “circumnavigating” the competition’s rules.
The National League side forced a replay in a dramatic 3-3 draw and head to Griffin Park aiming to take another Championship scalp having beaten Sheffield United in the third round.
But Kleanthous has slammed Brentford for not being able to provide the full away allocation for their fans.
Barnet supporters were given just 1,500 tickets for the tie which is less than the required 15 per cent of the stadium’s 12,763 capacity.
In a statement on the club’s website, Kleanthous said: “Although I have been away for a few days, I have looked on with pride at the performance of our teams both on and off the field. It’s been tough work but our biggest match in recent history was staged without incident and all our staff did us proud as did our team who put in a cracking performance.
“Success brings its own new set of problems and I am very frustrated by the way our opponents are now trying to circumnavigate the Cup rules. Thus far, despite strong representation to the Club, we have been unable to secure for our fans the full ticket allocation from Brentford for Tuesday’s Fourth Round FA Cup replay at Griffin Park. I personally tried to reach a compromise with the Brentford Chairman, who is also Chairman of the FA Cup Committee, and whom I have known for many years, but there was no movement.
“The FA have been informed of the situation and we now await their final decision with our London neighbours citing Health and Safety as a reason for their breach. It is now a matter for the authorities to determine why they have not invested in making their facilities and operation safe but we simply do not accept this position. The rules are clear and we are not aware of any dispensation given before they entered the tournament.
“This latest issue comes hot on the heels of the debacle over Charlee Adams’ yellow card suspension and the FA’s refusal to suspend Ollie Watkins for the dive which earned Brentford this draw and replay in the first place. It is my and the Club’s policy not to usually comment publicly on these matters but this is the third blow in a row and our fans need to know what’s been going on behind the scenes.
“As a consequence of all this, officials of Barnet FC have decided to give their Boardroom tickets to the players’ families and not to attend the Boardroom of Brentford FC. This is in order to show solidarity with our fans who will now miss out on this very special occasion. As for myself, I do not feel comfortable to attend at all and will try and organise a stream of the match from Legends Bar or on iBarnet, which the FA have kindly agreed to. We are trying to work out the logistics of this so please look out for a further announcement.
“On a positive note, the majority of our 50 staff allotted complimentary tickets will be distributed to those Barnet FC members who have been unable to purchase tickets to date. Qualification for a ticket will be on a one for one basis, depending on your length of membership.
“Those interested and eligible must email firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday at 10am with the subject line ‘Brentford Members Tickets’.
“Those who are successful will be notified by Monday afternoon and all tickets must be collected from The Hive London by Tuesday midday.
“There will be no charge for these tickets, we just want as few to miss out as possible.
“You have been magnificent in your support of Darren Currie and the players, please keep this up and I know there will be more good days to come.”