03:01PM, Thursday 11 April 2019
Marlow FC were informed today (Thursday) they’re being kicked out of the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup final for fielding ineligible players, subject to an appeal.
The Blues claimed an impressive 1-0 win over Slough Town in last month’s semi-final at Oak Tree Road, but the Rebels then brought the eligibility of Marlow players to the attention of the county FA.
The Berks & Bucks FA rules state that players are ineligible to play for more than one club in the same season in any of the FA County Cup competitions. Clubs have three days after the match to report any offences.
The players falling foul of this rule are striker Marcus Mealing and defender Adam Richards - with Mealing making an appearance for Walton Casuals in the Surrey Senior Cup and Richards turning out for Harrow Borough in the London Cup.
Marlow chairman Terry Staines and manager Mark Bartley both reacted with disappointment to the FA’s decision yesterday and confirmed the club would appeal the decision.
“Unbelievable. It’s unbelievable,” said Bartley. “I’m not sitting here saying ‘don’t kick us out’ but if that’s the case other clubs should be treated in the same way. I thought common sense would have prevailed.”
Staines added: “If we have broken the rules we deserve to be treated as such. We have no problem with the rules being applied, but they should be applied equally across all clubs.”
Bartley added that the club was planning to raise the matter with the national FA governing body.
“The next step is going to the FA,” said Bartley “I guess the aim is to raise as much awareness as possible.”
Slough are now set to contest the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup final against Reading u23s on Monday, May 6, pending the outcome of the appeal.
Slough Town's vice chairman Jon Porter said: “The club will not be making a comment while the Berks & Bucks FA process is ongoing.
“When the result is open and in the public domain we'll be happy to comment.”
A statement from the Berks & Bucks FA read: “Following the Berks & Bucks FA Senior Cup Semi Final between Marlow FC v Slough Town FC on 26th March 2019 an appeal was lodged by Slough Town FC regarding the eligibility of two Marlow FC players.
“Upon investigation, a Football Operations Disciplinary Committee concluded that Marlow FC were found to be in breach of eligibility rules and, in accordance with competition rules, have been removed from the competition and the tie awarded to Slough Town FC.
"Under competition rules, protests must be submitted within three days of the match or the occurrence to which they refer. Berks & Bucks FA can confirm that no other formal protests in relation to alleged breaches of eligibility rules have been received in this season's competition.
“As a result, and pending an appeal, Slough Town FC have been reinstated into the competition and will face Reading FC in the Final.”
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