FOOTBALL: Who’s in charge?

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: County secretary Mike Benson County secretary Mike Benson

OFFICIALS at the Wiltshire FA have again refused to clarify the status of secretary Mike Benson, amid new reports over the future of the 78-year-old at the county governing body.

The Gazette & Herald reported last month that Benson had been on leave from his position with the association for several weeks, although the body declined to comment on why he was absent from his post.

Benson insisted he was on “self-imposed suspended leave” citing the pressures of the job and adding: “I spoke to my chairman (Richard Gardiner) and he advised me to take some time off so that is what I did.

“It is a pressurised job and it takes it out of you. I am hoping to be back soon.”

However, the Gazette & Herald understands that Benson has not yet returned to work and may be the subject of an inquiry conducted by the national FA.

Officials at Wembley were unable to confirm if that was the case before the paper went to press yesterday afternoon, having previously insisted that the situation was a “county matter”.

Amid confusion at local league level over who is running day-to-day operations at the Wiltshire FA, the Gazette & Herald this week again attempted to contact county officials to clarify the situation.

The option to speak to the secretary had been removed from the county FA switchboard at its Swindon headquarters, while all enquiries were directed to county FA chairman Gardiner, who failed to respond to repeated phone calls and messages.

The Gazette & Herald has also spoken to representatives of leagues and teams throughout the county who admitted they were in the dark and had similarly been unable to obtain any answers from the county body.

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