The FA has today (Tuesday) confirmed that Spalding United have been expelled from this year’s FA Vase.
It emerged on Monday night that the Tulips are understood to have fielded ineligible player Garfield ‘Louis’ Robinson for the final five minutes of their 3-0 victory at Walsall Wood in the last round.
And this official statement from the FA’s website has sealed Spalding’s fate: “Following an FA investigation, an FA Vase Sub-Committee have considered submissions made on behalf of Spalding United and concluded that Garfield Robinson was not eligible to play in the tie for Spalding United, as it was established that he was under suspension under an assumed name with the Northamptonshire FA.
“Therefore, the Sub-Committee decided that, in accordance with its discretionary powers under FA Vase Rule 1(d) and pursuant to Rule 16(b), Spalding United are removed from the competition as they were found guilty of playing a player that was not correctly qualified in accordance with FA Vase Rule 15(d).
“Furthermore, the prize fund payment is now forfeited and will be reimbursed to The FA.
“No further action was taken against Spalding United by this Sub-Committee in relation to The FA Vase competition as removal from this season’s competition was deemed sufficient punishment.
“Walsall Wood were reinstated into the competition and will play at home in the Third Round Proper against Wisbech Town on Saturday 7 December 2013.”
Spalding United’s official statement on the matter refused to rule out an appeal against their decision.
It read: “On Monday 2nd December 2013, senior representatives of Spalding United Football Club attended FA headquarters in London to meet with members of an FA Vase Sub-Committee.
“The purpose of the meeting was to enable the club to answer a charge they had knowingly fielded an ineligible player during the 2013/14 FA Vase 2nd Round tie at Walsall Wood FC on Saturday 16 November – a charge the club strenuously denies.
“Armed with the evidence in support of their claim they had not knowingly contravened FA Vase rules, the club was subsequently very disappointed by the Sub-Committee’s decision (delivered during the meeting) to eliminate them from the 2013/14 competition.
“Whether the club will pursue its right of appeal in this matter will be determined after receipt of the FA Vase Sub-Committee’s written report, which will detail the reasons behind their ruling.
“In light of the above, the club would ask all supporters for their patience and understanding that no further comment can be made at this time.
More on this huge story when we have it.