Bangor City Football Club have won their appeal against a 21-point deduction imposed last season for allegedly flouting Football Association of Wales rules.
The club also had a £700 fine over the same offence quashed and a further charge of fielding an ineligible player was thrown out.
An independent arbitration panel today heard Bangor’s appeal against alleged breaches of FAW regulations over player eligibility.
City could have faced relegation from the Cymru North if their appeal against points penalties failed.
However, the club emerged punishment-free following the hearing in Birmingham.
In May 2019, the Citizens were charged with alleged breaches of FAW rules, although an initial 42-point deduction was halved on appeal, sparing relegation.
The club then launched a second appeal against that 21-point deduction, although they were then told they faced a fresh FAW charge of fielding an allegedly ineligible player.
The Citizens only avoided relegation on goal difference, so any further punishment – which related to their match with Prestatyn Town on 22 March – could have seen them demoted to the third-tier Welsh Alliance.
A fortnight ago, Bangor City were informed they would not be able to play competitive games until after an arbitration hearing on August 16.
The suspension also applied to Holywell Town and Llandyrnog United, who could have been promoted and relegated respectively depending on what happened to Bangor.
However, today’s decision means City remain in Cymru North, while Holywell stay in the Welsh National League Premier Division and Llandyrnog United in Welsh Alliance Division One.
Representing Bangor City at today’s appeal, Christopher O’Neal issued the following statement after the decision was announced.
“I represented Bangor City Football Club today in its appeal against the FAW decision to deduct 21 points and a further charge of fielding an ineligible player,” said Mr O’Neal.
“The hearing commenced at 10am in Birmingham under the consideration of Mr Nick De Marco QC.
“The FAW was represented by Loosemores Solicitors Cardiff along with their own officer Aaron Hughes.
“A lengthy hearing took place with the FAW exhibiting over 1,000 individual documents.
“I hope now the FAW can consider the findings today of the leading body of sports resolution and the chairman Mr De Marco and take heed from this matter.
“As a club we openly offer a meeting with the FAW to hopefully build bridges and move forward for all concerned.”
In a statement, the FAW said: “The Sports Resolutions UK Independent Arbitration Panel sat today (16 August) to consider the matter of an appeal and the hearing of an additional charge between Bangor City FC (appellant) and the Football Association of Wales (respondent in the appeal / complainant in the additional charge).
“The decision is as follows:
“The club is successful in its appeal. It follows that the club should have restored to it (i) the 21 points deducted from the Huws Gray Alliance League record for the 2018/19 season, and (ii) the fine imposed upon it by the FAW Appeal Panel.
“The additional charge is not proven.
“The FAW shall pay 100% of the arbitration costs.
“No order of costs as between the parties.
“Written reasons will be published to the parties concerned by the close of business on 19 August 2019.
“Bangor City will therefore compete in the JD Cymru North for the forthcoming 2019/20 season. Meanwhile, it is also confirmed that Holywell Town will play in the Welsh National League Premier Division and that Llandyrnog United will participate in the Welsh Alliance League Division One.
“The FAW will not be making any further comment at this time.”