Rotherham United have been found guilty by the Football League of fielding an ineligible player in the club's Sky Bet Championship fixture with Brighton & Hove Albion on April 6.
The club have instantly been fined £30,000 and deducted three points following the offence, which has a massive effect on the race for survival in the Championship. Rotherham won the tie 1-0 at the New York stadium thanks to a Matt Derbyshire goal, but Farrend Rawson, on-loan from Derby County has been found to have been played ineligibly.
The defender's youth loan-spell had expired, and the Millers failed to complete the correct paperwork to ensure the defender's spell could be extended.
Rotherham boss Steve Evans refused to blame any staff members at the club, following the error that could eventually see them relegated from the League.
"You have to accept there's been an error. Certainly, knowing people inside this football club, no one means to make an error," Evans said.
"I don't want to cast judgement on people who make genuine mistakes. I have made enough of them. I have often said that in my career and I mean it."
Blackpool suffered the same fate last season when they fielded an ineligible player, suffering a three-point-deduction and a fine, leading experts to believe Rotherham will face the same fate, even if they appeal.
Race for survival
Rotherham will hope they can still avoid the drop, as they hold a game in hand over their rivals. They travel to the Madjeski Stadium to play Reading on Tuesday, before playing Leeds in their final game of the season.
A statement from the club regarding the guilty verdict read: "Rotherham United FC are very disappointed by the decision to deduct 3 points for fielding a player who was ineligible purely because of an administrative error."
"We await the reasoned judgement of the FDC and once we have received it we will issue our appeal after discussion with Jim Sturman QC. In the meantime we are confident that our team possesses the will and spirit to ensure that the points deduction is academic by securing our Championship status on the pitch."
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