FA Cup: AFC Sudbury given bye after opponents kicked out

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The Football Association have confirmed to the Free Press that AFC Sudbury have been given a bye into the third qualifying round of the FA Cup after Sleaford Town and Huntingdon Town were removed from the competition.

Both Sleaford Town and Huntingdon Town were told the news on Thursday following a mass brawl breaking out three minutes from the end of their first qualifying round tie.

Sleaford had been winning the match 2-1 at the time.

A statement from the Football Association said: “Both Sleaford Town and Huntingdon Town have been removed from this season’s FA Cup competition, subject to any appeal, following the abandonment of their First Round Qualifying match on September 14, 2013

“The decision follows a meeting today [Thursday] of The FA Cup Sub Committee which considered the submissions from both clubs and the findings from an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing which took place on Wednesday, September 25 2013.

“At that Commission hearing, it was decided that both clubs be severely censured and warned as to their future conduct and each fined £150.

“The charge, which both clubs admitted, was a failure to ensure their players and/or officials and/or supporters conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and/or refrained from provocative and/or violent behaviour.”

It added: “The FA Cup Sub Committee decided that, within its powers under FA Cup rule 1(g), both clubs are removed from this season’s competition following the abandonment of their FA Cup tie.

“Therefore, AFC Sudbury are now awarded the tie in the Second Round Qualifying and receive a walkover into the Third Round Qualifying, to be played Saturday, October 12 2013.”

It is still unclear whether AFC Sudbury will be awarded the £4,500 of prize money they would have been playing for on Saturday.

A statement on Lincolnshire side Sleaford Town’s website said: “It is with great disappointment to us that The FA has made the decision to remove both Clubs from this year’s competition.

“We will now wait to receive the official judgement from the FA before considering whether to exercise our right to appeal.”

The statement added: “Whilst naturally devastated with today’s decision we would like to thank everyone who has offered their support through what has been a difficult time for Sleaford Town FC.”

AFC Sudbury had booked their place in the second qualifying round with a 2-1 win at fellow Ryman League Division One North side Burnham Ramblers on September 14.