BRADFORD Mutual Sunday School League champions Salem Athletic will not be defending their title next season.

The league’s annual meeting at Manningham Mills Sports & Community Association heard that there was no-one available to run either Salem’s first or second teams at Leylands Lane and that they would therefore be pulling both teams out of the league for 2022.

Salem’s B team, who won the second teams’ cup, the H Broadbent Trophy, this season, were sixth in Group B.

Retiring chairman Nick Spachis said: “This is a case of a team without infrastructure, and I would hope that Salem Athletic will come back in for 2023.”

An identical thing happened to Craven League winners Ingrow St John’s after they won their top flight in 2017.

On a happier note, Bradford Indians and Hallfield are both expanding, fielding second teams next season in the Mutual, while there is also a new club, late applicants Sunrise, who hope to play at Northcliffe.

Some confusion was caused by Group B side Northcliffe changing their name to Greenfield, who already exist in the league as a separate club in Group C.

This will mean that there will be eight teams in both Group A and B and nine teams in Group C.

Meanwhile, many leading officials within the league have changed, including two with 16 years’ successive service.

Long-standing chairman Spachis stepped down at the annual meeting, while also moving aside is president Alan Broadbent, who, like Spachis, began his stint in office in 2005.

Also standing down are more recent recruits, fixture secretary Zaheer Ahmed and disciplinary secretary Mohammed Rafiq, who both started in office in 2015.

Spachis said: “It has been an honour to lead the BMSSCL for the best part of two decades and I have made many friends, whose friendships I value. I will continue to be involved in the league as a representative for Bradford Phoenix.” 

Amir Majid replaces Broadbent, who was not present at the meeting.

Other new officials are Dr Rizwan Hameed (chairman), Gaurav Kumar (results and fixtures secretary) and Graham Langton (disciplinary secretary), while commercial secretary Jonaid Khan has become vice-chairman, replacing Majid.

Hafiz M Azad is vice-chairman.

Spachis said: “I have been part of this league for nearly 40 years (as player, official and umpire) and I feel it is time for someone else to do the job (of chairman) but I will remain part of the umpiring family.”

Hameed said: “There will be sweeping changes in this league (celebrating its 125th anniversary this year) and I promise to take the league forward in a different way but I need your support and am open to suggestions to take power away from the executive committee towards clubs.”

Ahmed said that the league needed to move towards live scoring, which some clubs had already taken on board.

A staggering 45 rule change proposals were voted on.

Among the rules change proposals that were passed included the introduction of a T20 competition next season; a three-year limit on executive committee members except life vice-presidents; that executive committee members must attend at least 60 per cent of meetings otherwise they will be voted off; executive committee members no longer having the right to vote at league meetings or annual meetings; no club to have two teams in the same division; no more than two players transferring from one club to another from seven days prior to the season starting until July 31; an £8 fine for failing to provide an official; and the league to provide umpires with white coats, counters, a rule book and a hat.

Among the rule change proposals to fail included giving an automatic 25 points to the winners of a match and bonus points only to the losing team; reducing a club’s bond from £200 to £150; that no individual represents more than one club; and that the T20 competition be played in coloured clothing with a pink ball.

Constitution - Group A: Allerton, Apperley Bridge, Bradford Indians, Girlington, Great Horton Church, Hallfield, Omars, Yorkshire Friends.

Group B: Bowling Baptists, Bradford Phoenix, Bradford Qalandar, Cambing, Greenfield, Girlington B, Great Horton Church B, TABS.

Group C: Allerton B, Bowling Baptists B, Bradford Friends, Bradford Indians B, Bradford Kashmir, Greenfield B, Hallfield B, Mandhata, Sunrise, West Bowling.

Officers elected - President, Amir Majid; chairman, Dr Rizwan Hameed; vice-chairman, Hafiz M Azad; secretary, Hafeez Ur Rehman; results and fixtures secretary, Gaurav Kumar; treasurer, Ibrar Ahmed; disciplinary secretary, Graham Langton; umpires’ secretary, Sajid Parvez; commercial secretary, Jonaid Khan.