Grays Athletic have been expelled from the 2019/20 FA Cup for fielding a player who does not hold the appropriate international clearance.
The club explained the background to the decision in the following statement:
It is with a heavy heart that the club has to advise supporters that Grays Athletic have been expelled from this season’s FA Cup competition after being charged and found guilty of a rule breach.
Consequently, the 2Q Round game away to Kingstonian FC, scheduled for Sunday 22nd September 2019 will not go ahead as planned.
The charge (Rule 15 i III) relates to fielding a player in an FA Cup game when he doesn’t hold the appropriate international clearance.
The player this relates to is Frankie Hession-Harris, who appeared as a second half substitute in our FA Cup Preliminary Round win against Heybridge Swifts FC on 24th August 2019. Frankie has since left the club and signed for Merstham FC.
Despite Frankie representing both Witham Town and East Thurrock United in season 2018-19, it transpires that he was never internationally cleared to play football back in England after representing a college team in the USA.
At this stage, whilst considering an appeal, Grays Athletic do not wish to add anything further. However, whatever the final outcome, the club will release a full account of the facts in this case by further communications and via a fans meeting.
This is obviously a major setback in what has so far been an excellent season for The Blues, who sit second in the BetVictor Isthmian League after five wins in their first six league games.
The club will keep supporters updated with further developments as they happen.