Paper money: Rotherham points deduction and fine shows the importance of doing admin

By Laura Jones.

Paperwork, it’s not the most interesting of chores, but it’s an essential part of life. Laura looks at the consequences of football clubs being lax with their filing.

No matter how organised you are, sometimes a piece of paperwork gets mislaid and you end up paying the price for it. You have probably forgotten to pay your credit card bill at some time and ended up with a late payment fee. You may forget to put a dental appointment in your diary and then crack a crown. You might forget to renew your car tax and get a fixed penalty notice from a vigilant police officer. These things happen when you’re busy but what if you can’t afford to pay the price of a filing mistake?

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Rotherham United were charged last week, by a football disciplinary committee, for fielding an ineligible player against Brighton on the 6th April. The Millers played loan defender Farrend Rawson in the game, despite his youth loan from Derby County having expired the day before. The consequence of their admin error was a three-point deduction and a £30,000 fine.

This points deduction has put the South Yorkshire team firmly back in the Championship relegation pack. They went into the weekend fixtures only a point above Millwall, instead of a more comfortable four-point cushion.

Rotherham aren’t the only club recently who have put their future in jeopardy because they failed to cross the t’s and dot the i’s.

Vanarama Conference side Nuneaton Town currently sit rock bottom of the league due to a points deduction for also fielding an ineligible player – two days after his loan had expired. The reason for the mistake . . . an email to the Football Conference containing the signed documentation to extend the loan failed to send. The physical paperwork, sent in the post, turned up too late to stop the sanction.

Enfield Town’s chances of promotion to the Conference South could also hinge on another club’s lax admin skills. Enfield signed a player from VCD Athletic, who had not correctly reported that the player was due to face a two-match ban. They played the midfielder and reported it to the FA as soon as they realised the error. Despite being told by the FA that they had carried out the necessary checks, a decision is still to be made whether a punishment will be handed out under the Isthmian League rules. Enfield may drop out of the play-off places if they are deducted the standard three points.

Rotherham have a game in hand and a chance to claw back the points they lost against Reading this week. If they don’t they will go into the final weekend hoping for a win and feeling remorseful about not reading the fine print properly.

Read more from Laura Jones here!

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