Manager angry with FA at Cup exit

The manager of Yarmouth football team El Sol claims they have been let down by Norfolk County FA after a mix-up over a banned player cost his side a place in the semi-finals of a showpiece competition.

El Sol originally beat Wymondham Rangers 2-1 in the Norfolk Sunday Senior Cup quarter-final but were invited to play the game again when the County FA discovered that one of the El Sol players had been suspended at the time of the match.

Wymondham won the replayed fixture on Sunday 1-0 but El Sol's boss Jeff Rowland is arguing that the initial result should stand – because he says neither his club, nor the player, knew he was banned at the time and no one had informed his club.

He said the player, Damien Wise, was unaware that he had been banned for an unpaid fine, imposed on the players after a five-a-side team, for which he played only a couple of times before he joined El Sol, disbanded. He said Wise had changed his address and had no idea about fine or subsequent ban.

'As soon as he found out he paid the fine straightaway,' he said.

He added: 'Obviously we would not have played him in the first game if we had known. He only came on as a sub for 10 minutes in the quarter-final. What I am saying is we were not informed. We feel we have been let down. This is not sour grapes because we lost on Sunday but what I would like to see is for it to be overturned and for the original result to stand. It is just not right the way we have been treated.'

Rowland says when he spoke to the County FA he was told that the details had been available on the County FA website, but he feels his club should have been sent written notification. He says El Sol only agreed to replay the game to avoid being expelled from the prestigious competition, which sees the finalists compete at Carrow Road.

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Rowland added: 'Our chairman and secretary Mick Houghton is a man in his 70s who is completely devoted to the club and has been with the club for over 40 years. He doesn't know about the internet. He's a broken man over all of this. They said I should have looked on it but it's not my job. I don't have the time. My job is to manage the team.'

Matt Carpenter, Norfolk County FA football administration manager, said the cup committee had sympathy for El Sol over 'an unfortunate set of circumstances'.

He added: 'We are not suggesting for one minute that they have deliberately transgressed the rules but it's a matter of fact that the player was suspended at the time which is why we took the most lenient course of action we could under the rules of the competition which was to order the game to be replayed and not to fine them.'

The discovery of the ban has raised the issue over whether it will have any effect on any league games the player had played in for El Sol and Hemsby Saturday.

Carpenter said it was a matter for the individual leagues to deal with but said the player's ban started on December 14 and was lifted on January 18 when the fine, �18 including an administration fee, had been paid. He added: 'It may well be the case that during this period – because of the inclement weather – he didn't play any other games anyway.'

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