HAYWARDS HEATH TOWN and Shoreham have been left in limbo after the former were charged with fielding an ineligible player – after the season had finished.
Both clubs applied for promotion to Step 4 of the Non-League Pyramid but it was Haywards Heath who won the Southern Combination League Premier title, and promotion to the Ryman League, finishing on 96 points.
Shoreham finished second, four points behind, but neither club is sure where they now stand after Haywards Heath were charged with fielding a player under a ‘sine die’ suspension earlier in the season.
Haywards Heath have outlined their intention to appeal the decision meaning both clubs are still unsure what leagues they will be competing in next term.
A statement from the Sussex FA confirmed: “The Sussex County FA in conjunction with London FA, have carried out a full investigation into the allegation.
“As a result both the player and the club have been charged with misconduct and we are awaiting their responses to these charges.”
Haywards Heath Town secretary Mark Russ told Middy Sport: “We have been charged with playing the ineligible player. And will now obviously contest that.
“We feel we have done nothing wrong. We are totally in limbo and as when a decision is made we can prepare for next season.
“We are going to now answer the charge and put in our appeal and then we wait to get the hearing date then go from there.”
Shoreham chairman Stuart Slaney added to the Shoreham Herald: “With promotion at stake, it’s currently making us miss out on potential players and sponsors.
“It’s a difficult time not knowing whether we will be playing in the SCFL once again next season or go up into the Ryman League.
“Pre-season is around eight weeks away and we are still none the wiser as to what division we will be playing in next season.
“I just want a decision to be made. It’s total limbo for us at the minute.”
If Shoreham are handed the title, it wouldn’t be the first league this season to have a champion crowned after the campaign had finished.
Portland United were confirmed as Wessex League winners four days after the season had concluded. First-placed Moneyfields, who had celebrated their title win the week before, were stripped of the championship after failing in their appeal against an ineligible player charge.