Rotherham United have been deducted three points by the Football League’s Disciplinary Commission.
The ruling came as the Millers were found guilty of fielding an ineligible player, Farrend Rawson, in the win over Brighton and Hove Albion on April 6.
They have also been fined £30,000.
The deduction leaves the Millers one point clear of the relegation zone, a point ahead of Millwall and two ahead of Wigan Athletic. They do however hold a game in hand over both teams.
In reaction to the decision, manager Steve Evans: “Destiny is still at our feet.”
The Millers have until May 1 to appeal the decision.
A statement from the club read: “Rotherham United FC are very disappointed by the decision to deduct 3 points for fielding a player who was ineligible purely because of an administrative error.
“It is our view that true sports fans want to see competitions settled on the pitch and not to have them affected by what happens in disciplinary proceedings.
“We await the reasoned judgement of the FDC and once we have received it we will issue our appeal after discussion with Jim Sturman QC.
“In the meantime we are confident that our team possesses the will and spirit to ensure that the points deduction is academic by securing our Championship status on the pitch.
“It would not be appropriate to make any further comment on this matter until after the appeal process has been concluded.”
A statement from the Football League read: “A Football Disciplinary Commission has ruled that Rotherham United are to be deducted three points, with immediate effect, for fielding an ineligible player (Farrend Rawson) in the Club’s Sky Bet Championship fixture with Brighton & Hove Albion on April 6.
“The Millers won the match 1-0 with Rawson playing for the full 90 minutes.
“Rotherham were also fined the sum of £30,000, half of which will be suspended until the end of the 2015/16 season. The Club must also pay the costs of the hearing and The Football League.
“The Club has until May 1 to lodge an appeal.”