The Management Committee of The North West Counties Football League issue the following statement regarding the points deduction applied to Bury FC following the conclusion of the recent appeals process.
All Leagues within the National League System (Steps 1-6) are bound by the FA Standardised Rules. In the event of a notification of an alledged breach of Rule, a League is required to issue a charge notice to the club concerned, who have the right of a personal hearing, submitting a plea of mitigation or denying the change. In the event of a denial further investigation is undertaken.
Once all the above criteria has been completed, the decision is made by the appointed League Disciplinary Committee and ratified by the League Board of Directors at the next Management Committee meeting and then notified to the Club.
Clubs then have the right of appeal to The Football Association under the terms of the Appeal Procedures.
In the instance of Bury FC, breach of League Rule 6.9 (playing an ineligible player) v. Glossop North End on 29th July 2023. The club requested a personal hearing at which the breach of League Rule was considered proven by the Leagues Disciplinary Panel. The decision being as per the League Rule 6.9 that the points gained in the match be deducted from the clubs playing record and a fine imposed in accordance with the Leagues Fines Tariff.
Rationale: The player was a contracted player of another club, confirmed by The Football Association Player Status Department.
Bury FC had offered a £500 transfer or cancellation of contract fee to that club who had issued them with an invoice.
Bury FC had incorrectly registered the player as a non-contract player with the League.
This was all before the playing of the game against Glossop North End on 29th July 2023.
Therefore the Disciplinary Panels conclusion was that the club knew the player was contracted to another club and in accordance with the FA Player Status Regulations, approval for either a transfer or cancellation of the players contract had not been obtained.
The Board considered the above decision and the rationale, for which they could only vary their decision in respect of the points gained in circumstances where;
(a) the ineligibility is due to the failure to obtain an International Transfer Certificate o
(b) where the ineligibility is related to a change in the Player’s status with the Club for whom he is registered or
(c) where the Board determined that exceptional circumstances exist
The Board considered that none of the above was relevant.
Bury FC then submitted an appeal against the Leagues decision to The Football Association Judicial Services whose appointed Appeal Board dismissed the appeal.
Glossop North End had submitted a protest, which after the decision of the FA Appeals Board was considered by the League Board, the protest was upheld due to the decision of the FA Appeals Board. The only decision they could make as per the League Rule 6.9 is to replay the game and apply the terms and conditions under which it is to be replayed, which are as per the financial aspects of Cup Rule 21 b (ii) Net Gate Receipts: Equally between the North West Counties Football League and the two competing Clubs.
There is no provision to award the points to the disadvantaged club for their opponents playing an ineligible player.
The League will be making no further statements on this matter.