The common sense ruling clearly went out the window on this one. Wowza.
In England, Isthmian Premier Division side Thurrock FC were relegated to the Isthmian Division One North after the club mistakenly fielded a player last season who owed $24 to a former team for a fine.
Thurrock managed to avoid relegation by a single point during the 2012-13 campaign and mass celebrations ensued. Except all that champagne bottle popping is looking rather silly right now.
Because almost a month after the season had ended, Thurrock were told that had been issued a three point deduction. Which in turn meant relegation, their second straight drop down after being in the Conference South. (England’s sixth-tier)
The player at the center of this ridiculous episode is Joel Barnett, who was technically banned from playing in the Isthmian League after previously playing for a club in Yorkshire that collapsed as they couldn’t pay fines to the local FA. Barnett owed money and was therefore not allowed to play until it was paid. That paltry sum of $24 never was paid. Hence the issued.
Then Thurrock’s owner Tommy South gave quite a peculiar answer as to why Barnett never paid the fine: “Joel should have told us but he never knew [about the fine] because he was in prison.” The plot thickens.
According to their owner and the board, they lodged an appeal with the Football Association but were turned away as the FA said it was their own fault for looking at Barnett’s background.
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.
But tiny Thurrock won’t go down without a fight. They plan to take their case to the European Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.
That $24 fine has caused quite the stir.