FA Cup: Barnsley expelled for fielding ineligible player in first-round replay

Barnsley's Oakwell home

Barnsley have been kicked out of the FA Cup for fielding an ineligible player in their first-round replay win at non-league Horsham.

The seventh-tier side will now play League Two Sutton United in round two.

The League One Tykes had won the replay 3-0 last week after drawing 3-3 in the initial tie at Oakwell.

“We would like to apologise to our fans, players and staff for this regrettable error,” they said in a statement on the club website.

Although Barnsley have not named the player, Football Association rules state only players who are eligible for the initial FA Cup tie can feature in a replay.

Forward Aiden Marsh was on loan at National League side York City when the first game took place on 3 November, before being recalled three days later. The 20-year-old then started in the replay in West Sussex on 14 November.

“This mistake – although unintentional – falls way below the high standards we set at this club and is simply not what you deserve,” Barnsley’s statement added.

“We have already conducted a full internal investigation and have subsequently put safeguards in place to ensure this will never happen again.”

Barnsley can appeal, but the Tykes said they had accepted the decision.

The ruling means Isthmian League Premier Division side Horsham will now play in the second round of the FA Cup for only the second time in their history.

“I understand the immense disappointment that this decision by the FA would be to both Barnsley Football Club and its supporters,” chairman Kevin Borrett told the club website.

“On behalf of HFC, I wish Barnsley FC every success in their pursuit of promotion back to the Championship at the end of the 2023-24 season.”

Bury were the last club expelled from the competition in 2006, when the then League Two side fielded Hartlepool loanee Stephen Turnbull without the proper authorisation in a second-round replay victory over Chester.

Chester were reinstated and went on to lose to Ipswich after a third-round replay.

Droylsden, in 2010-11, and Bradford City, in 2012-13, were also removed from the competition, but were both allowed back in after an appeal.

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