Corinthian-Casuals Football Club says it is ‘devastated’ by its points deduction which has transformed Hastings United’s chances of making the season-ending play-offs.
Casuals were docked three points yesterday (Friday) after being charged by The FA for fielding a player while under suspension, which means United are back in Ryman Football League Division One South’s top five heading into the final games today.
A win for United at home to ninth-placed Herne Bay this afternoon would secure their place in the play-offs and a draw might also be enough if Faversham Town fail to win at home to third-placed Hythe Town.
Having previously been one point and one place above United, Corinthian are now two points and two places behind United going into their home match against Three Bridges.
A statement from Casuals chairman Brian Vandervilt at www.corinthian-casuals.com read: “Corinthian-Casuals Football Club have been charged by The FA for fielding a player whilst under suspension. The charge arises from David Hodges’ participation in the home fixture against Faversham Town in the Ryman League Division One South which ended in a 3-1 win for Casuals.
“The club had made all the necessary checks to ensure Hodges was eligible for selection for this fixture as confirmed by the club’s parent FA.
“The one-match suspension was due to be served in our tie with Sittingbourne FC. However, this match was postponed and the next available fixture was a county cup match. Confirmation (written and verbal) was given by London FA that this fixture could count towards Hodges’ suspension.
“The club followed this advice along with the response that no further verification would be needed. Upon completion of the county cup fixture, Hodges’ name had been removed from all online suspension checks.
“However, after the Faversham fixture, which Hodges had played, under guidance that his suspension had been lifted, the club received a message via the Whole Game System which highlighted a potential discrepancy. On investigation, it became clear that David had played whilst under suspension due to incorrect information.
“The club was subsequently charged by The FA for a breach of rule E10. An FA commission fully accepted that the club and player had done nothing wrong, that the club had performed all relevant checks and that the club had been misinformed by the parent FA.
“Despite The FA’s acceptance that we were not to blame, ‘strict liability’ meant the charge was enforced and Ryman League rules dictate that points gained shall be deducted. Therefore, despite an appeal, Corinthian-Casuals Football Club has been docked three points.
“All involved at the club are devastated at the news, especially in light of our league position. From players, management and officials, all whom are unpaid and perform their duties for the love of the game, all are bewildered by these events.
“Immense effort is put in, not least by James Bracken, his players and coaching staff for the monumental effort of achieving a club record-breaking points haul despite remaining strictly amateur. We’d also like to thank the league for being incredibly supportive of Corinthian-Casuals throughout this ordeal, but had their hands tied by The FA.
“We understand that rules are to be re-written and hope that at the very least, our situation doesn’t happen to any other football club, especially where volunteers work so hard to maintain survival.”
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