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Ipswich: Football club fined after fielding player banned for assaulting opponent

PUBLISHED: 09:49 14 January 2013 | UPDATED: 09:49 14 January 2013

Darnell Wright, who was banned from playing by the Suffolk FA

Darnell Wright, who was banned from playing by the Suffolk FA

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A LEADING Ipswich Sunday morning football club has been heavily fined and docked 18 points after fielding a player banned for attacking an opponent, The Star can reveal.

We are being victimised

Kitchener Taverners FC first team manager Steven Wardley said his club had been unfairly punished for an innocent mistake.

The club’s 18 point penalty leaves Kitchener bottom of the Premier Division, despite the team winning every league game so far this season. The team had also reached the quarter finals of both the Senior Cup and the Suffolk FA Cup – and have been kicked out of both.

“We are a little pub team who are being victimised and made an example of,” said Mr Wardley.

“The player asked to join and told us his name was Donel Edwards. We have been told that we should have asked him for proof of identity – a birth certificate, driving licence or passport – but I have never heard that before and nor have any other clubs I have spoken to.”

Mr Wardley said his club has appealed against the sanctions imposed by the Suffolk FA and the Ipswich Sunday Football League and is waiting for a date to be set for the hearing.

He has sought help from the Football Association in London.

“We can’t afford this fine – it’s going to wipe the club out. We think it would be fair if we received a smaller fine and our points were re-instated,” said Mr Wardley.

“We have been going since 1967 and this is a family club. I played for Kitchener Taverners, my sons play. We have boys whose fathers played years ago.

“We are unbeaten this season but we are bottom of the league and we are going to win nothing. It’s a kick in the teeth for the players.”

Darnell Wright was one of three players involved in the incident at Whitton Sports Centre during a match between Brewers Arms and Finningham Flyers in February 2011.

He was suspended sine die with no review for five years.

But Mr Wright played for Kitchener Taverners this season, earning the Ipswich Sunday Football League (ISFL) Premier Division club a six point penalty for each of the three games in which he appeared, and ejection from the league’s senior cup.

The club has also been booted out of the Suffolk Sunday FA Cup because Mr Wright played for Kitchener in an earlier round of the competition.

Mr Wright also turned out for two Saturday clubs in the Suffolk and Ipswich Football League (SIL) this season, including Division One side Ransomes Sports FC.

He avoided detection from league officials by playing under the name of Donel Edwards.

A spokesman for the ISFL said: “We can confirm Darnell Wright played for Kitchener Taverners in the Premier Division despite receiving a ban from the Suffolk FA.

“The club has been docked 18 points, been removed from the league cup and fined £400.”

A spokesman for Suffolk FA confirmed Kitchener Taverners had been removed from the county cup.

Mr Wright was playing for Brewers Arms on February 6, 2011 when he and two of his team-mates assaulted a member of the opposition following a match against Finningham Flyers.

The 27-year-old player injured in the assault was punched and received lacerations to his face and bumps to his head.

Peter Gorham, chairman of Ransomes Sports FC, said Mr Wright had played a handful of games for his club’s reserve team under the name of Donel Edwards.

The SIL declined to comment.

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