By Alan Duffy
‘Harsh’ doesn’t even start to describe a decision by the FA which has seen Isthmian Premier Division side Thurrock relegated to the First Division.
The FA have upheld a three-point deduction handed out to Thurrock after they had fielded a player who had failed to pay a whopping fine of £16 to West Riding FA. The player in question, Joel Barnett, shouldn’t have been playing for the Fleet as he was banned for failing to cough up his share of a collection of fines which his previous side had racked up before folding under financial pressure.
The FA initially punished the club with a three point deduction but despite an appeal, the punishment remains, with those points enough to drop Thurrock into the relegation zone and out of the division.
Thurrock owner Tommy South (great name, btw) explained that the club were unaware of the player’s situation, explaining:
“Joel should have told us but he never knew because he was in prison.”
If only for pesky prison, eh! South was also rather understandably irked, saying:
“It’s a disgrace. It all happened 11 months ago and what the FA and Ryman League have told us is that we should have checked this website and that, but we followed procedure by checking with our own county FA.
“It’s a real mess because he got sent off playing elsewhere before he came here and got a three-match ban but nothing was flagged up.”
However, the club are still ready to fight the rather harsh decision and are planning to take their case to the European Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne. All seems a bit over the top, no?