Sutton United get away with it while Corinthian-Casuals lose three points despite both clubs found guilty of breaching Rule 6.9

Friday 22nd April 2016

SUTTON UNITED are on course of winning the Vanarama National League South title after avoiding a points deduction after claims of fielding an ineligible player in March.

The current National League South leaders have been fined £500 and warned to their future conduct at today’s hearing.

A National League statement said: “At a hearing before a sub-committee of The National League held today, a charge against Sutton United FC for fielding an ineligible player in its match against St Albans City FC in The National League South on Saturday, 5th March 2016 took place.

“Upon the club’s admission to the charge, Sutton United FC was found guilty of breach of Rule 6.9 and was fined £500 for the offence and warned to their future conduct.

“In a separate hearing held this week Sutton United FC were also warned by the Football Association in relation to matters in relation to the ineligibility of the same player Jamie Slabber in the same match.”

The U’s lead the table on 84 points with two games remaining, while the play-off places are presently occupied by Ebbsfleet United (81 points with one game remaining), Maidstone United (76, with two left), Truro City (63 with four left) and Hemel Hemsptead Town (61 with two games left).

Elsewhere, Corinthian-Casuals were deducted three points by the Ryman League today for fielding an ineligible player (Dave Hodges) in their 3-1 home win over Faversham Town on 16 January while he was still under suspension.

Casuals, like Sutton United, breached Rule 6.9, but while one Surrey club got away with a points deduction and are on course on claiming a league title, Corinthian-Casuals have dropped out of the Ryman League Division One South play-off zone a day before the season comes to an end.

Hastings United have taken their place in the play-off zone and if they beat ninth-placed Herne Bay at The Pilot Field tomorrow, they will travel to runners-up Dorking Wanderers in the play-off semi-finals next Tuesday.

A statement issued by Brian Vandervilt, the chairman of Corinthian-Casuals on said the club are feeling “devastated.”

“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 F.C. 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 (manager) 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.”