CLITHEROE are under investigation by the Lancashire League for allegedly paying an amateur player.
A protest was put in to the league, believed to be from Lowerhouse, concerning Clitheroe wicketkeeper Kurt Robinson.
As a result the league have opened an investigation into whether there has been any wrongdoing by the league leaders who are on the brink of winning the title in their first season in the competition having switched from the Ribblesdale League last winter.
Clitheroe require just three points from their final fixture, against Burnley on September 17, to win the title and could secure the trophy earlier if Darwen fail to win this weekend.
This release is for the information of our members and whilst I accept that it will be read by others, it is solely an information document. I would ask to that the trial by social media ceases as not much of it is true or accurate and the speculation is damaging and unhelpful for both ourselves and Clitheroe Cricket Club.
Circumstances have lead to a senior member of the club executive being made aware that 3 Clitheroe players are allegedly receiving remuneration for playing cricket for Clitheroe Cricket Club. This is against the rules of the Lancashire League.
Firstly members ought to know that Lowerhouse are by no means comfortable with having to make this complaint as we recognise the potential damage that this can cause. Hitherto we had a very good relationship with Clitheroe CC, went across pre season at their invitation and shared ideas with them and were very pleased to see them in the League. We especially have a good junior relationship with them over many years. Having to make a complaint about a club where we have friends on and off the field is distressing for all concerned.
Secondly, the club had two choices under the Lancashire League rules. Either, do nothing or pay £50 to make a complaint. Feeling unable to ignore what we were aware of, and therefore making the complain , we find that we have become the investigators in both providing information to the league and being recipients of further information from other sources. Dutifully we will pass this information on to the Executive unless specified otherwise by the informant.
There have been many comments in the public domain relating to timing and also suggestions of sour grapes. We must stress that we can only report the incident at the time it comes to light and that the initial notification to the Lancashire League was made the day after the incident occurred. Similarly, to us it would not matter if Clitheroe were top of the league or bottom, we felt duty bound to make the formal complaint to uphold the integrity of the league.
Finally Lowerhouse CC are not judge and jury. We are simply acting in what we believe to be the best interests of the Lancashire League.
The Chatburn Road club recorded two wins last weekend but both were achieved without former Padiham skipper Robinson who was left out of the squad after the league advised Clitheroe not to play the wicketkeeper. However he has not been suspended by league or club.
The outcome of the investigation is unlikely to be established until after the end of the season, casting uncertainty over the final outcome of the campaign if Clitheroe do go on to secure the title.
The league have sought correspondence from Clitheroe and remain tight-lipped on any possible sanction if it is found that the club have breached the rules, although it is understood a penalty could range from a points deduction to expulsion.
Lancashire League chairman Mike Bibby said: "We have launched an investigation after a protest was made by another club.
"The Lancashire League do not allow amateur players to be paid.
"We advised Clitheroe not to play the player in question but he is not under suspension by the league or the club.
"We are now awaiting all the information and it will then be put to the clubs.
"At this stage it is in the hands of Clitheroe."