In response to various comments made on social media, Atherton Collieries can confirm that they have not been invited to participate in the 2017 Bolton Hospital Cup. As a club, we are bitterly disappointed by the decision that the committee of the competition have made.We have won the competition on four occasions; 1974, 1987, 2012 and 2015. Last season, we finished runners-up when Prestwich Heys beat us in the final at The Macron Stadium.The reasons given by the committee of the competition focus on the subjective opinion that we are now deemed "too good" to compete against the other sides. This is not a view held by anybody at the football club.Some may argue that the competition will benefit from our absence; we certainly believe otherwise.We have been long-standing supporters of this competition. We consistently raise a healthy sum of money for the charity. We tend to draw in larger than average crowds for the competition. More disappointingly, we have always been more than happy to go the 'extra mile' for the competition, hosting numerous matches and semi-final ties at short notice.Atherton Collieries will be making no further comment on the situation and wish all teams competing this season the very best of luck.