ROTHERHAM United have, as expected, been deducted three points after fielding an ineligible player and are back in Championship relegation trouble
The Millers played Derby defender Farrend Rawson on Easter Monday as they beat Brighton 1-0. Rawson’s youth loan at the club had expired and the paperwork to extend it was not handled correctly. Rawson played the entire 90 minutes of the game.
A three-man Football League panel met on Thursday to decide on the right punishment for the Yorkshire side and followed precedent from other similar cases.
The deduction leaves Rotherham perilously close to the relegation zone in the Championship.
They now sit only one point above Millwall in 22nd place, although Rotherham, with three matches to play, have a game in hand. They are also two points ahead of Wigan.
Rotherham host Norwich and Reading before travelling to Elland Road to play Leeds United on the last day of the season.
The Millers have also been fined £30,000, although half of this has been suspended until the end of next season.
Blackpool fielded ineligble Donervon Daniels in November and, although they lost their game with Millwall, they were fined £30,000.
AFC Wimbledon were deducted three points when they fielded the ineligible Jake Nicholson in a 4-3 win against Cheltenham Town.
Rotherham have until May 1 to lodge an appeal.
At his press conference yesterday, manager Steve Evans said: “Every team want to have their destiny at their own feet and it’s up to us.
“I have said to the players for some weeks to just forget about these whole circumstances and focus on your football.
“Whether we get a point off, three points off or no points off, it is going to mean no difference to what we do against Norwich.
“If we go and get some positive results over the seven days from Saturday, then we won’t need to worry what others do.
“If we can go and beat Norwich, it would go a long way to say we are going to be part of it next season.”
Evans described the failure to re-register Rawson after the completion of his first month as an “administrative” issue, but says that he holds no anger for anyone at the club for what he has labelled as a genuine error in not completing the paperwork to extend teenager Rawson’s loan with Derby.
Evans claimed after the win over Brighton that Rawson’s loan had been extended for the rest of the season, only to reveal that the player had been recalled after not being involved in the clash against Middlesbrough five days later.
The Millers’ chief said: “No, I don’t think angry is the word.
“For people who know me, there’s big things in my life and I can cope better than anger.
“You have to accept there has been an error. Certainly knowing people inside this football club, no one means to make an error.
“I am never one to cast judgment on people who make genuine mistakes.
“I have made enough of them and I have often said that in my career and I mean it.
“I just concentrate on the team and it is not whether someone says sorry or not.
“I don’t think it’s about me looking inward. We just have to hope the football disciplinary commission make an honest decision.
“I believe that, anyway, we have to hope that night follows day and that will happen.
“Whatever happens, the dressing room are on the back end of that and we have to take whatever decision is out of that and then deal with it.
“We have had to focus and put it out of our minds before and will do so on Saturday and then we’ll focus on Reading and then Leeds United.”
Millwall welcome Derby County tomorrow and Wigan host Wolves.