Beattie: Football League fine could have crippled Accrington Stanley

James Beattie

James Beattie

First published in Sport This Is Lancashire: Photograph of the Author by , Burnley FC reporter

JAMES Beattie has hit out at the Football League following Accrington Stanley’s fine for a breach of new coaching qualification rules, claiming: “It could have crippled us!”

The Reds received a £20,000 penalty, with £15,000 of that amount suspended, for employing Beattie as boss without the former Blackburn Rovers and England striker achieving the UEFA B licence.

As of June last year, the coaching badge is a minimum requirement for any Football League manager.

“Ultimately it’s our fault. We know it is, we’ve held our hands up, we’ve paid the fine,” said Beattie, who went up before the Football Disciplinary Commission (FDC).

But with special dispensation being shown towards Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur, whose new head coach Tim Sherwood has not yet achieved the minimum UEFA Pro Licence for that level of football, despite holding a coaching role at the club for more than five years, the Stanley boss believes he and the club have been harshly treated.

“If on the one hand you’re trying to promote young English managers and give them help, then on the other hand you’re trying to make an example of one that’s just got a job, who’s brand new to the job, at the poorest club in the country, lowest turnover, lowest budget, it doesn’t make any sense really,” said the 37-year-old, who is still registered as a player.

“We tried to tell the Football League how the financial state of the club was, how it’s a struggle to survive week to week and the Football League’s recommendation was that the fine run into the tens of thousands, to which I just said ‘have you not been listening to anything we’ve said in the meeting’.

“I told the chairman not to worry and that we’d sort it out because I was on my pathway and for them to say in their statement that I hadn’t shown any intent to do any coaching badges was not true.

“I had thought about doing my badges but I didn’t envisage my playing career to come to a stop as soon as it did.

“I was going to carry on playing. I still feel that I could carry on playing but I’m obviously very busy with running the team and running the club.

“I started on my pathway as soon as I got to know about this and I passed my Level 2 the other day and I’m now on my UEFA B Licence.

“I’ve put in place a structure where I will have my UEFA B licence by the May 1, if not sooner.”

Beattie, who is assisted by qualified coaches Paul Stephenson and Paul Lodge, received widespread support from the PFA, including chief executive Gordon Taylor, the League Manager’s Association, and counterparts such as Bury manager David Flitcroft, who will be in the opposition dugout at the Store First Stadium tomorrow.

“I know Beats (Beattie) has got a team around him that have got those qualifications and that’s what the FA should look at – what the management team is like as a whole,” said Flitcroft.

“If that is professional, and we know it is at Accrington, then it should be overlooked for sure.

“To fine a club like Accrington £20,000 – I just think they are taking money out of football and it’s crazy.”

The Stanley boss agrees he, and the club, should have had more backing from the Football League.

“Them saying the fine should be in the tens of thousands could have crippled us,” added Beattie.

“You just think sometimes these people just aren’t living in the real world.

“They said they wanted to make an example of the club and set it as a precedent.

“If you go after the poorest club in the league to make a statement then that sort of says it all really.

“I’ve had a lot of help from the PFA and I’ve spoken to Gordon Taylor. He was not very happy at all about us going up in front of the (FDC).

“At the end of the day his view was we were supposed to be promoting young British managers in football, and for me to have that within the first few months of my managerial career he thought was out of order and he was going to tell the Football League so.”

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