Woodbridge left counting the cost

WOODBRIDGE Town are today counting the cost of fielding an ineligible player in this season's FA Vase.The Ridgeons League Premier Division side were thrown out of the competition yesterday after they were found guilty of playing Ben Miller while he was suspended.

Nick Garnham

WOODBRIDGE Town are today counting the cost of fielding an ineligible player in this season's FA Vase.

The Ridgeons League Premier Division side were thrown out of the competition yesterday after they were found guilty of playing Ben Miller while he was suspended.

The left-sided defender, who was due to serve a one-match suspension after picking up five bookings, came on as a substitute in the 1-1 draw in the Second Round Proper at Ely City on November 14.

Woodbridge contacted Suffolk FA when they realised there was a problem and this was passed on to the FA to investigate. Last Wednesday's scheduled replay at Notcutts Park was postponed pending yesterday's decision.

The club were invited to attend an FA Vase sub-committee hearing at Wembley Stadium yesterday to present their defence.

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A statement released by the FA after the hearing said: “After considering the facts, the sub-committee decided that Woodbridge Town had breached FA Vase Rule 15(c) by playing a player whilst under suspension, therefore ineligible.

“The sub-committee decided, in accordance with its discretionary powers, that Woodbridge Town be removed from the competition and Ely City awarded the tie.

“No order was made as to costs and no fine imposed as removal from the competition is deemed sufficient punishment.

“The FA Carlsberg Vase Third Round Proper will now be St Ives Town v Ely City, on Saturday, December 5 2009.”

Neither John Beecroft, the Woodbridge Town chairman, nor manager Mark Scopes were available for comment yesterday, but the decision undoubtedly will come as a bitter blow to the club, who are currently third from bottom of the Ridgeons League Premier Division.

The Woodpeckers missed out on potential prize money of �1,200 for winning the replay and the prospect of playing for a purse of �1,300 at St Ives in the Third Round Proper.

Added to this the club have also missed out on potential revenue generated from staging the replay in terms of gate receipts and bar takings, plus possible further income if the club had progressed further in the competition.

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