AFC Portchester have been left stunned by the Football Association’s decision to throw them out of the FA Vase for fielding an ineligible player.
The Wicor Rec side did not have international clearance for defender Josh Maddison.
The full-back spent three months in Australia, two years ago, and during that time played for a local club.
He remained registered with Portchester throughout and consequently the club didn’t realise they still needed international clearance on his return.
It is a massive blow to the Royals who had reached the last 64 of the Vase after beating Shepton Mallet in the last round.
A Portchester statement read: ‘AFC Portchester are very disappointed by the FA Vase committee decision to find the club guilty of fielding an ineligible player in this season’s FA Vase competition.
‘We have been subject to a historic technicality, going back to 2011-2012, concerning a player who has been registered at our club since 2007-2008.
‘The player was registered with us before signing for a club in Australia without international clearance from the FA.
‘He was also under general suspension at the time for the non-payment of a fine.
‘With this in mind he returned to us and continued playing.
‘We feel the decision is totally unfair as our club had no communication at any time with any other governing body.
‘The club also has documented e-mails from his Australian club stating they did not apply for international clearance themselves.’
Last night AFC Portchester drew 2-2 at Verwood in the Wessex League premier division.
Charlie Gajic put the hosts ahead on 20 minutes.
Portchester striker Jamie Musselwhite equalised in fine style, soon after half-time.
He turned his marker inside out before firing high into the net.
On the hour, Luke Horner fired home to put Verwood back ahead.
But Portchester rallied again. Musselwhite helped on Louie Castles’ free-kick for Nathan Kirby to blast the ball into the net at the far post and secure a point.
KEVIN RICKETTS &