Lower Breck manager Gary Moore has called the decision to remove the club from the FA Vase “damaging” after they were charged with fielding an ineligible player.
The charge came with 10 minutes to go after they brought on a substitute, with the score at 4-0 in Breck’s favour.
Breck went on to win 5-1 and move into the next round of the competition. However, due to the late introduction of a player on a short-term loan, the club broke competition rules and paid the ultimate price.
The decision at a personal hearing saw the club removed with their opponents, Swallowsnest, reinstated and saw the entire prize pot relinquished.
In a statement released by the club, secretary Jim Davies said: “As Secretary, I take full responsibility for this happening and the mitigation plea was primarily around my failure to communicate the rules concerning the non-eligibility of short-term loan players to the Manager, one of whom was brought on as a substitute with 10 minutes remaining in the match, with us 4-0 up.
“I unreservedly apologize to the management team, the fans but especially the players who did their job on the day. I will try and do mine to the best of my ability for the remainder of the season but it is a bitter pill to swallow for all concerned.”
Lower Breck manager Gary Moore expressed his disappointment at the ruling after seeing their place in the First Round proper tie at home to Birtley Town snatched away from them but emphasised the buck doesn’t stop with the secretary.
“Tough, tough for everyone, tough for the club but more so tough for the players because they don’t deserve to not be in the next round,” he said.
“They’ve done their jobs, done their job on the pitch, they’ve done everything that was asked of them. We were on a good little run, I thought we were the better side, a level above Swallows no disrespect to them.
“But we’ve made an error, I’ve made an error by bringing the player on, Jim’s made an error by not chewing a rule book but as I say a genuine error.
“Sadly it’s cost us all, cost the club, cost the players and cost Jim. One thing we are is a club, it’s not just on Jim’s head, I’ve done enough paperwork this season alone so I could’ve checked something but you can say it’s not my job to do that because I’ve got enough stuff on my head but as I say Jim has enough on his with life so it’s sad, but we’ve got to move on.
“It looks like we’re not doing our jobs the way we should be doing, every club in non-league knows there’s a lot more to it, it’s not the first time we’ve been removed from a cup we got removed when we got into the semi-finals but that’s another one.
“You’ve got a piece of paper when you bring players in on loan you’re transferring a contract to your club and you have a piece of paper with clauses that state they can play in different competitions, it happens, it happened this time. We had a lad on a short-term and long-term it says in the paperwork they can play in this competition little did we know the side role that short term deemed not possible.
“It looks like we’re not doing our job as a club but we’ve done our paperwork and done it to the best of our ability. There’s a piece of paper that says he can play in the competition, we should’ve checked the competition rules, you’ve got one thing in your head and it’s another lesson learned, a harsh one, we certainly won’t do it again.
“But it may prevent us wanting to bring players in on loan because there’s so many little niggling things, you can’t play young players, play youth loans, short terms loans, it’s damaging, it’s damaging to morale on the back of getting a defeat last night you’re going into a tough game Saturday.
“The lads have had a blow into a blow so you’ve got bounce back and to get another blow Saturday it’ll hurt everybody. It’s tough but we’ll come together as a club, but it’s certainly not all on Jim, statement looks like it’s all on him but it’s not. We take it on the chin as a club, try and move forward.
“Have to say thanks to all the well wishes on social media, it says it all, you’ve broke a rule, other clubs have broke rules in the same circumstances and haven’t been punished so it’s a tough one, ultimately we broke and rule and been punished.”