Rotherham points deduction confirmed ahead of Norwich City trip
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Norwich City's Championship opponents this weekend Rotherham have been deducted three points for fielding an ineligble player, dragging the Millers firmly back into the relegation mix.
Steve Evans' club will now only be one point clear of third-from-bottom Millwall at kick-off on Saturday - although Rotherham have a game in hand against Reading next week - after the ruling from a Football Disciplinary Commission was released at Friday lunchtime.
A Football League statement read: 'A Football Disciplinary Commission has ruled that Rotherham United are to be deducted three points, with immediate effect, for fielding an ineligible player (Farrend Rawson) in the club's Championship fixture with Brighton & Hove Albion on April 6.
'The Millers won the match 1-0 with Rawson playing for the full 90 minutes.
'Rotherham were also fined the sum of £30,000, half of which will be suspended until the end of the 2015/16 season. The club must also pay the costs of the hearing and The Football League.
'The club has until May 1 to lodge an appeal.'
Rotherham released their own statement shortly afterwards confirming their intention to appeal the ruling.
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It read: 'Rotherham United FC are very disappointed by the decision to deduct three points for fielding a player who was ineligible purely because of an administrative error.
'It is our view that true sports fans want to see competitions settled on the pitch and not to have them affected by what happens in disciplinary proceedings.
'We await the reasoned judgement of the FDC and once we have received it we will issue our appeal after discussion with Jim Sturman QC. In the meantime we are confident that our team possesses the will and spirit to ensure that the points deduction is academic by securing our Championship status on the pitch.
'It would not be appropriate to make any further comment on this matter until after the appeal process has been concluded.'
City chief Alex Neil, speaking on Friday morning prior to the decision being confirmed, admitted the Canaries' task would only become tougher if the points deduction was ratified.
'They are being talked about getting points deducted today. That probably doesn't play into our favour because if they do get deducted points then they will have to look to make it up over these next remaining games,' he said. 'That might motivate them but we are in the same boat. If they feel they are hard done by it can bring them closer together and give them a cause to fight against injustice.
'There will be even more for them to play for but we have our own agenda and we will set our stall out to that end.'