Northwich Victoria F.C can confirm that at an F.A Appeal Hearing in Manchester last week the club was deducted nine points from its current League total. This relates to the fielding of goal-keeper Mason Springthorpe whilst ineligible in four league games in September, 2015. The Club are disappointed that this matter was leaked to the NLP by a third party when the F.A had not yet made an official announcement.
Earlier this season the Club was charged by the F.A in respect of a breach of F.A Cup Rules regarding the eligibility of the same player. Following that hearing the club were allowed to continue its participation in the F.A Cup competition because the F.A exercised its discretion when dealing with this matter and recognised that the circumstances of this particular case were worthy of such discretion being applied. 
The League disciplinary proceedings are a follow on from the F.A proceedings meaning the club have received two sets of penalties for the same players ineligibility.
On 2 November, 2015 the League issued disciplinary proceedings arising out of the very same circumstances for breaching League Rules. The circumstances were that the player's registration had been accepted and registered by the League but there was no trace of the registration documents at the F.A. There is no evidence that the documents were not sent to the F.A. The only certainty is that the players registration was not inputted into the computerised registration system held at the F.A.  Consequently a technical breach of the rules was committed because the F.A had not approved the registration. It should be added that the matter only came to light as a result of the club being responsible for raising issues concerning the players registration with the F.A. 
On 9 December, 2015 a disciplinary hearing was held by the League. The Club immediately admitted the breach of the rules. Following that hearing the League deducted the nine points won in the four League games that the player had participated and issued a suspended small financial penalty. In that hearing the Club submitted that under the League Rules this was a "Player Status" issue and as such discretion could be applied in the determination of penalty and specifically relating to the deduction of points. The League ruled that this was NOT a "Player Status" issue.
On 2 March, 2016 the Appeal Hearing was held in Manchester. The Club appealed against the penalty being excessive and that the League could have applied discretion in regards to points deduction because it was a "Player Status" issue. The F.A Appeal Board agreed with the Club and upheld the appeal stating that the League misdirected itself over the issue of Player Status and should have considered the discretion allowed under the Rules.
Having considered the matter further though the F.A considered that the penalty should be the deduction of nine points and a small financial penalty. 
The Club considers the finding in its favour but then to issue a similar penalty as irrational in the circumstances particularly as on the same day as the original League disciplinary hearing the Evo-Stik League issued a suspended points deduction against another club. Furthermore the irrationality of the decision is further compounded by the fact that one other F.A panel had seen fit to allow discretion in the F.A Cup competition despite the circumstances of the ineligibility of the player being the same.
The Club now intends to proceed to Arbitration under F.A Rule K to seek to overturn the decision to deduct points and due to the length of time that such proceedings can take this may unfortunately have an adverse effect on the seasons completion but the Club considers it has to pursue this matter.
The Club can assure its players, coaching staff and supporters that they will fight what they perceive as an injustice and will be making no further comment in respect of this matter until the completion of the arbitration process.