Sheffield United last night responded to news that Gillingham were guilty of fielding an ineligible player when the two sides met on the opening day of the season at Priestfield.
Emmanuel Osadebe completed 89 minutes of the game after joining the club following a spell with Tottenham Hotspur but a disciplinary commission ruled on Thursday that his transfer should have been subject to international rather than domestic clearance because his registration was actually held by Dundalk.
Gillingham, who won the match 4-0, indicated the teenager’s previous affiliation had been with Spurs when they registered Osadebe with both the Football Association and the Football League and were fined £4,000, suspended for 12 months, as a result.
A United spokesperson said: “The unusual circumstances make it a delicate situation, which, no doubt, the Football League, Football Association and Gillingham discussed at length before the Football Disciplinary Commision arrived at Thursday’s outcome.”
Although the FL registered Osadebe on July 22, the FA did not process his registration ahead of the new campaign. Last season, United’s neighbours Rotherham were deducted three points for a similar offence when Farrend Rawson featured in a victory over Brighton and Hove Albion 24 hours after his youth loan from Derby County had expired.