The turmoil of the Velocity Trophy has taken another twist with Horsham’s conquerors Walton Casuals being kicked out for twice fielding an ineligible player - although the Hornets have NOT been reinstated.
The league cup competition’s integrity has now been called into question after contradicting outcomes on player eligibility issues.
The Bostik League had already ordered Dominic Di Paola’s side to replay a game against the very same opposition, Walton Casuals, due to a player registration issue with George Landais.
But it has now emerged that ineligible Casuals player Dominic Ogun, for who they have been kicked out, featured in both the first and then replayed game against the Hornets as well.
Back on October 31, Horsham won 3-1 away at Casuals in the second round of the competition to book their place against Premier Division outfit Dulwich Hamlet in the next round.
Soon after, the match was ordered to be replayed as a result of Horsham fielding Lewes loanee Landais in their line-up.
This was despite the fact the striker was not cup-tied as his parent club had opted to not even enter the competition.
The league ruled that Horsham should have supplied written confirmation that Landais was cleared to play by his parent club - at the time the situation was described as the ‘greyest of grey areas’.
Horsham went on to lose the replay 3-0, but it has since emerged that Ogun played in both matches for Casuals.
As a result, they have been removed from the competition and instead of reinstating Horsham, Dulwich have been given a bye into the fourth round.
A Walton Casuals statement said: “It has since emerged that the Casuals had fielded an ineligible player in Dominic Ogun. He had featured for Chipstead in their 5-0 victory against Leatherhead in the first round.
“Rule 10.2 of the Isthmian League Cup states: ‘A player shall not play for more than one club in the competition in the same season.’
“Rather than a third fixture between the two clubs, it has been decided that Horsham will not be reinstated and Dulwich Hamlet have been given a bye to the next round.”
Horsham manager Di Paola said: “The integrity of the competition is all over the place. It is what it is, we have to draw a line under it.
“We were brilliant in the first game up there and worthy winners. I still feel for the boys as they played ever so well and got their rewards in making the next round.
“We have a lot more going on at the moment and more important things, so just have to move on.”
The West Sussex County Times approached the Bostik League, who had no mention of the decision on their website, for comment on the ruling, but they did not reply to our request for a statement or clarification.
Horsham kick-off their home league December schedule with the visit of third-from-bottom East Grinstead on Saturday.
Then they welcome high-flying second-placed Corinthian Casuals on Tuesday night, before second-bottom Ashford United a week Saturday.
Di Paola added: “East Grinstead are pretty good on their day as they are a young side. Ashford have signed some real quality players now, so I think they will kick on.
“Corinthian Casuals is a chance to test ourselves against a decent side, they are the games we like if I am honest.
“It’s Thamesmead as well before the trip to Guernsey and they pumped us at their place so it will be good to see how far we have come and if we can compete now.”
Landais has returned to Lewes, while the Hornets are awaiting to see if Hakeem Adelakun will be returning to Burgess Hill. It has also been agreed that Matt Boiling, on loan from Worthing, will stay for another two weeks.