Wrexham have lost their appeal against the 10-point deduction imposed on them by the Football League for going into administration last month.
The club failed to convince an independent panel that their financial problems were caused by unavoidable or unforeseeable circumstances.
So the 10-point penalty stands, leaving Wrexham near the foot of League One.
By going into administration, the club avoided an Inland Revenue winding-up order over a £1m tax bill.
But that brought an automatic points deduction under the Football League's new administration rules which were brought into force in May last year.
The severe sanction is designed to deter clubs from going into administration, according to the League.
Wrexham's administrators launched the appeal because they felt they had a strong case to argue that the loss of promised funds due to the collapse of the ITV Digital television contract in 2002 was the major reason behind their troubles.
The Sporting Sanctions Appeal Panel which heard the appeal could have decided to:confirm the deduction of 10 points; orset aside the deduction of 10 points and substitute a deduction of such lower number of points as it shall deem appropriate; ororder that there shall be no sanction at all.
Wrexham secretary Geraint Parry admitted the club had always feared the worst outcome, but hoped the panel would have reduced the penalty by five points.
Administration means that a court-appointed accountant takes over the financial control of the club from its directors
The administrator tries to find a settlement with the club's creditors or to sell the club as a going concern
In the last 11 seasons, 34 Football League clubs have gone into administration, 12 since the collapse of ITV Digital
As well as a 10-point deduction, new League rules will not allow clubs to be in administration for longer than 18 months or two successive seasons.
"We were in uncharterred territory, but we had to try to get the points back," Parry told BBC Wales Sport.
"It could make the difference between us staying up and going down."
Before the 10-point penalty, Wrexham were in a comfortable mid-table position in League One.
But now they find themselves one place off the bottom and facing the real threat of relegation.
Parry added: "We've got a relegation battle on our hands now so we've got to pull together and make sure we get out of this mess."
The club was only able to take this course of action - the first of its kind - after fans and businessmen pledged to cover the £20,000 cost of the appeal.