Puritans are docked four points by FA’s late decision

Banbury United have been docked four points by the FA due to Ravi Shamsi's registration at the start of the season
Banbury United have been docked four points by the FA due to Ravi Shamsi's registration at the start of the season

Banbury United have been docked four points by the Football Association.

The deduction relates to Ravi Shami’s initial loan spell at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium at the start of the season. It appears the Maidenhead United player’s loan was not registered in time for him to play in the opening day Evo-Stik League South draw at Rushall Olympic and the victory over Halesowen Town three days later.

During my tenure as manager of this great club we have overcome many obstacles of which this is another and I’m sure there will be others in the upcoming years

Puritans boss Mike Ford

The club released a statement today (Tuesday) in which they outline the case. It reads as follows:

‘The Board of Directors of the club is very disappointed to announce that we have been deducted four points by The Football Association in respect of an administrative error relating to the loan of Ravi Shamsi from Maidenhead in August, 2018.

‘The loan was confirmed and the registration lodged and accepted by the Southern League on August 2. However, a copy of the loan form is required by the FA prior to the player playing. This was sent at the same time but did not arrive at the FA until August 16 after the games against Rushall Olympic and Halesowen on August 11 and 14.

‘The issue obviously relates to an issue at the beginning of the season. In August the FA charged us with a breach of their regulations to which we responded. The FA issued a warning against the club rather than any tangible penalty.

‘After The FA ruling, the club were charged by the Southern League in September and responded at that time. The club were not notified of the decision of the league until November 14. The Southern League ruled that there was a breach of regulations and the points won in those games should be deducted.

‘The club appealed the decision to the FA, based on the penalty being excessive for an administrative oversight and that the club did not have a fair hearing by the league. The latter was due to, what we believed to be, the league not following its own regulations in its charge letter to the club.

‘The appeal was heard on Monday, January 14 at Wembley with both ourselves and representatives from the league present. The FA agreed that we had not had a fair hearing and so our appeal in respect of this was successful.

‘However under the FA appeal regulations the FA can still consider an issue such as this and they ruled that the penalty as stated in the league regulations should be applied. We were notified of this decision on Monday January 28.

‘The Board is obviously very disappointed that this should have occurred and checks were not made prior to Ravi [Shamsi] playing. Since the takeover by the Community Benefit Society and in recent years our football administration, had, until now, remained at this highest level.

‘It is easy but remains true to say, the club is run by a number of volunteers who give their time freely and occasionally, as in all walks of professional and voluntary work, errors will be made. However, whatever we think of the harshness of the penalty, it is a lesson to ensure we do not let anything similar happen in the future.

‘We are very disappointed that it has taken over five months since the incident for the matter to be concluded.

‘We know that there will be anger and frustration among players and supporters alike at this news. We apologise for this.

‘Of course we do not want the fantastic progress that has been achieved on and off the pitch as a supporters’ owned club to be damaged by our first major setback. We would urge supporters, whatever their views, to not let negativity pervade the club.’

Manager Mike Ford said: “This is obviously disappointing news and as all points we gain are hard earned it does feel that we have been harshly treated.

“During my tenure as manager of this great club we have overcome many obstacles of which this is another and I’m sure there will be others in the upcoming years. We must now stand as one, retrieve the points we have lost as quickly as possible and once again push on as we have done over the last three and a half years.”