Haywards Heath Town cleared following banned player claims

Haywards Heath Town manager Shaun Saunders. Picture by Derek Martin DM158457
Haywards Heath Town manager Shaun Saunders. Picture by Derek Martin DM158457

Southern Combination League Premier Division leaders Haywards Heath Town have been cleared of any wrongdoing following allegations of they fielded ineligible players earlier in the season.

Screengrabs and photos emerged on Twitter last night, alleging that Heath had played suspended Karl Akehurst and Nathan Cooper in a fixture against Horsham YMCA.

Shaun Saunders' side currently lead the way in the Southern Combination League Premier Division by a point from Shoreham with a game to go. A win on the final day at YMCA will see them crowned champions, while a loss or draw - coupled with a Mussels win at Arundel win would see them take the title.

A potential points deduction would have handed the initiative back to Shoreham, but following a full Sussex FA investigation a statement read: "Sussex County FA can confirm that neither of the two players were suspended on November, 26 as is being suggested and confirm that the matter has been fully investigated.

"Following a full investigation into the allegation, Sussex County FA can confirm that Karl Akehurst received his fifth caution on November, 5 2016, therefore he was suspended 14 days later on November, 19 2016. Due to the lateness of a previous caution being recorded, the sixth caution he received on November, 12 was showing as his fifth, which prompted the original suspension to show as of November. Upon receipt of the actual recorded cautions, the suspension was correctly served by the player on November, 19 2016 in accordance with FA Regulations, as his fifth was issued on November, 5 2016.

"In regards to the alleged suspension of Nathan Cooper, he had been recorded as receiving a fifth caution on November, 12 2016. This was again incorrect, and upon investigation, showed he had in fact received only four cautions at this time, therefore the suspension was removed accordingly and our records updated."

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