Crisis club Gateshead have been denied a licence to compete in the National League next season.
The league has held a number of disciplinary hearings to investigate the situation surrounding the club’s perilous financial situation and the issues that saw they Heed kicked out of their International Stadium home by the local council.
The outcome has found “multiple breaches” of the league’s membership regulations and the club has been punished with a points deduction for their tally from last season and they have also received a £3,500 fine.
However, the most severe punishment handed out by the league has seen the club suspended from the competition and they have been refused a licence to compete in non-league football’s top tier next season.
The National League broke their silence on the situation on Friday afternoon with an official statement.
It read: “The National League can announce the outcome of disciplinary hearings concerning Gateshead Football Club.
“The club was charged with multiple breaches of the League’s membership rules, and was subject to a review of its financial position and an assessment of its club licence.
“Gateshead FC has been found guilty of failing to obtain security of tenure over its ground, defaulting on football creditors, and breaching League rules concerning financial reporting and permitted loans.
“The club has had 9 points deducted from its playing record for the 2018/19 season and been fined £3,500. The National League table has been amended accordingly.
“Furthermore, the club has been suspended from the competition and the League has refused the club a licence for the 2019/20 season.”
The National League went on to announce that Gateshead have a right to appeal the punishment within five working days and any hearing will take place within 14 days.
The league also confirmed that they would reveal the 68 clubs that will make up their three divisions at their Annual General Meeting on 8th June.
That means that Gateshead owner Dr Ranjan Varghese has two weeks to clarify the ongoing saga surrounding the club’s future after a bizarre week of events.
Heed supporters looked to have completed a takeover on Wednesday after a four-hour long meeting between former general manager Alisha Henry and financial advisor Joseph Cala ended with an agreement in place.
A fee of £25,000 was agreed and paid and contracts were exchanged between the two parties.
Varghese and the recently appointed Stefano Franciosa were removed from the club’s Companies House file and Southern-based supporter Neil Pinkerton was named as their sole director.
Varghese attended a National League meeting alongside advisor Michael Di Stefano at Wembley on Wednesday afternoon before returning to Hong Kong overnight.
Henry had travelled to the home of English football to present the club’s financial plans for the new season and explain the way forward on and off the pitch.
However, she was not given the chance to discuss the situation with the league and returned to Tyneside on the understanding that communication would take place via telephone on Thursday.
There was further confusion as Varghese was reinstated on the club’s Companies House file and Pinkerton had his name removed as a director and the ownership situation remains unclear despite several attempts to find clarity.
Pinkerton has taken legal action over the situation and has sent a solicitor’s letter to the Hong Kong-based businessman over the last 24 hours.
What impact the league’s decision will have on Varghese’s plans remains to be seen, but the short and long-term future of Gateshead is now in serious doubt.