Published: 13:06, 15 June 2021
| Updated: 13:09, 15 June 2021
Dover Athletic have lost their appeal against a £40,000 fine and 12-point deduction.
The club were punished by the National League for failure to fulfil four fixtures between February 16 and 27.
They appealed to the FA but their case has been thrown out and they must also pay £1,600 costs.
Dover, cash-strapped with fans unable to attend games due to the Covid pandemic, stopped playing and furloughed management and players while the rest of the division carried on.
Their 2020/21 record was later expunged.
After government grants ran out, they were unwilling to take on loans, with chairman Jim Parmenter arguing it was against the league’s own rules.
The National League took a dim view of Dover’s actions, hitting them with a fine and a 12-point deduction for next season.
Dover appealed on three grounds, including arguing the panel “came to a decision to which no reasonable body could have come” and that “the sanction was excessive”.
However, the FA disagree and, in their findings, have questioned what they appear to see as a lack of information from the club.
They say there were “no projections or forecasts placed before the panel to show what the club’s future would look like beyond the instant season”.
“For that reason,” they added, “it is impossible to see whether or not the club could afford to service the loan that was the Winter Survival Package.
“Apparently that was a loan with a term of 20 years at a rate of 2% pa. No proper analysis was before the panel, nor this board, as to why that was not affordable.”
Chairman Parmenter has used his own money to subsidise Dover in the past, and the FA findings added: “No breakdown of personal wealth was provided in respect of Mr Parmenter to show why he could not provide equity contributions as in previous years.
“It was bare assertion by Mr Parmenter that he was unable to make equity contributions in the 2020/21 season to enable the club to fulfil its fixture obligations.”
The FA also said “no analysis was provided of costings to show whether savings were made or could have been made going forward so as to finish the season with its fixtures fulfilled and/or to service a loan”.
They added: “The burden was on the club to provide all of this analysis and information. It was the only party with access to such information.”
To rub salt in the wound, Dover must also pay costs following the appeal hearing.
“In our judgement it is appropriate for the losing party to pay the costs incurred by the appeal board,” the FA said.
“The club is therefore ordered to pay the sum of £1,600 within 30 days of receipt of this decision.”