A PARISH Council has become embroiled in a war of words with a football league over its local club and warned the village may never have an adult team again.

The dispute follows Grove Rangers FC being told that their application for next season was turned down because of the ‘lateness of the application’.

Their manager said he was ‘dumbfounded’ at the North Berks league's decision, which comes after the club failed to field a team last season.

Peter Fox, 48, claimed the team were not aware of the deadline to complete their application – a claim the league disputes.

And in an email complaining about the decision, Grove Parish Council clerk Graham Mundy wrote: “I must say on behalf of the parish council and Grove Rangers that we are all very disappointed in the league’s decision.

“The current crop of players may well not bother to wait around for another season and [it] may prove too difficult to recruit more players for next season. We may never have adult football in Grove now for the foreseeable future and for a village that has adult football representing it for the last 108 years, this is a very sad situation.”

League chairman Steve Bolton, however, criticised the council for becoming involved, claiming it did not ‘understand’ the league and pointing out that Rangers missed a deadline which had already been relaxed.

The League made the decision at a meeting on May 24, but encouraged the club to reapply for the following season. It is not clear whether Rangers could still compete if another league side dropped out.

Mr Bolton said: “We don’t tell the parish council how to run their rules.

“They don’t understand how the league is run. We have to apply [the rules].”

He explained that he felt Rangers matched specifications that the league wants of clubs and that the process would be lengthy ahead of the season’s September start.

“We have got to be realistic. They were not ready, we can’t accept them.

“There is nothing we can do for them.”

But Mr Fox labelled last year ‘a blip’ and warned the club would fold permanently if not allowed to play in the coming season.

He said: “I think all villages need an adult team... for the community.

“I have 20 players ready.

“I am still a bit dumbfounded with the league – totally dumbstruck."