Sidley United Football Club is to be booted out of the Sussex RUR Charity Cup.
The Blues fielded, albeit unwittingly, an ineligible player in their second round victory at home to Newhaven on Tuesday, last week.
Sam Willett was cup-tied having played for Rye United in the same competition earlier in the season. Willett, in fact, scored an own goal in Rye’s 4-0 defeat at Selsey on September 8.
A statement from the Sussex County Football Association, which runs the competition, read: “Sidley United FC confirm Sam Willett did play for their club on the 16th October, therefore, Sidley United FC are to be removed from the competition and fined £50.00. Their opponents, Newhaven FC, will be reinstated. This decision is final and binding.”
Sidley had been due to host fellow Sussex County League Division One side Lancing in the last 16 next month. They won 4-1 at home to the same opponents in the John O’Hara League Cup on September 15.
“It’s just one of those mistakes that’s cost us big time,” said Sidley manager John Lambert. “I didn’t realise, the player didn’t realise and it just got overlooked.
“We checked that Kenny (Pogue) was alright (Pogue played for Rye at the beginning of the season, but had left before their RUR Cup tie), but we didn’t even think about Sam because he hadn’t played that much for Rye. It never even entered my brain.
“We were umming and arring whether to play him because he had been struggling with his ankle. We found out Saturday lunchtime and I couldn’t believe it. It’s another cup we’re out of now, but it’s no good dwelling on that; we’ve got to get on with the next one.”