Chesterfield have been fined £5,000 by the Football Association after admitting to two charges over the fielding of an unregistered player.
The Spireites pleaded guilty to the charges, citing admin errors by staff no longer at the club, over the registration of youngster Joe Rowley.
A product of the club’s academy, Rowley made his first team debut on 25th March 2017 at the age of 17 and nine months.
The club submitted documents for his registration but due to him being under 18, they needed to be countersigned by his parents.
That was never followed up and the FA eventually picked up on the lack of correct documentation.
He played 39 matches for the club while unregistered, including 33 Football League games, three EFL Trophy matches, an FA Cup tie and two games of the current campaign.
A club statement said the teenager was not implicated or involved in the charge.
“On Monday 12 November, 2018 the Club attended a Football Association Regulatory Hearing and admitted two charges relating to administrative breaches of FA rules in respect of the registration of our player, Joe Rowley,” the statement read.
“The charges did not affect the players’ current status with the club and he was not implicated or charged in connection with the issues that were dealt with.
“The charges were predominantly in respect of fixtures during last season and only two fixtures during the current campaign and involve the administration of the player’s contracts between the Club and the FA. The charges refer to administrative issues with the previous football adminstration sector of the club and does not involve individuals presently working at Chesterfield FC.
“During the course of the last close season the club fully reviewed its operations in this area and as supporters are aware new staff were employed. It is important to emphasise that these current charges do not involve or reflect on the current staff’s performance.”
“On receipt of the charges in October, the club immediately engaged the services of Graham Bean, an expert in football governance and regulatory issues who represented the club at today’s hearing. Following consultation with our representative and following his expert advice the club admitted the charges immediately.
“Following the hearing the club was fined £5,000.
“These matters have now been finalised with the Football Association.”
Rowley signed a contract extension in January of this year and has been a first team regular under boss Martin Allen.