THURROCK FC have failed in their appeal against a guilty verdict handed to them for playing a player on a suspension list, meaning the club are relegated to the Ryman Division One North.
The club have said they are very likely to take the case to the court of arbitration but a decision will not be made on that until later this week.
In May, the FA found Thurrock and Tilbury guilty of fielding Joel Barnett while he was on a West Ryding FA sine-die list. Barnett played four games for Thurrock in August, during which time he scored one goal and helped them to three points against Lewes.
After being found guilty, the Ryman League docked the club those three points, relegating them to the Ryman Division One North, even though the season had finished.
Tilbury were docked 18 points, all of which they picked up when Barnett played 12 games for Dockers between October and December. The deduction sees them plummet down the league table but does not have any bearing on their place in the league next season.
Thurrock were forced to wait 21 days for the FA to acknowledge the club's appeal, but at a hearing on Tuesday, a disciplinary committee upheld the guilty verdict and in a seperate meeting minutes later, the Ryman League told Fleet officials the punishment remains.
Thurrock were represented by Graham Bean, a former FA official, who has represented the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Rafael Benitez in disciplinary cases against the association. The meeting lasted more than three hours, with the panel spending a futher two hours deliberation.