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Page last updated at 18:04 GMT, Monday, 12 January 2009

Crawley handed four-point penalty

Isaiah Rankin
Rankin joined Crawley in the summer after a spell at Stevenage

Crawley Town have been deducted four points by the Football Conference for fielding an unregistered player - striker Isaiah Rankin.

The move will see the Red Devils drop out of the Blue Square Premier play-off places into sixth place, with 42 points from 26 games.

Crawley were also fined 500, ordered to pay 250 costs, and handed a separate suspended fine of 1,500.

The club will now take legal advice and have 14 days to lodge an appeal.

The punishment follows Rankin's signing this summer, as he was not registered with the Conference at the start of the season even though his contract had been received by the Football Association.

It is the fourth season in a row the club have suffered a points deduction - having been punished for breaching the Conference's financial regulations in 2005/06 and 2007/08, while they started the 2006/07 season with a 10-point deduction after entering administration.

The Conference had earlier imposed a five-point deduction on fellow Blue Square Premier side Oxford United, also for fielding an unregistered player.

A statement on the club's website revealed that Crawley were "extremely disappointed with this decision".

It read: "The decision is even more surprising given the sanction awarded to Oxford United for an identical but much deeper breach of the Football Conference rules."

Meanwhile, chairman Vic Marley added: "This decision is extremely hard to take given the flawed registration procedures that the Football Conference had in place in the early part of the season.

"I have sympathy for Oxford, who like ourselves are a victim of this flawed process, but there is no doubt we have been dealt far more severely."

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see also
Five-point deduction for Oxford
12 Jan 09 |  Oxford Utd
Mansfield hit by points deduction
06 Oct 08 |  Mansfield
Crawley's appeal dismissed by FA
10 Oct 07 |  Crawley
Crawley placed in administration
05 Jun 06 |  Crawley
Crawley penalised by Conference
18 May 06 |  Crawley

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