FA fine Stevenage pounds 25,000

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The Independent Online
Stevenage Borough, the reigning Vauxhall Conference champions, have been fined pounds 25,000 by the Football Association after asking for a pounds 30,000 "bung" from Torquay.

The Stevenage chairman, Victor Green, was found guilty of telling Torquay that unless the money was paid he would sell his club's leading striker. That could have cost the Hertfordshire club - whose ground did not meet Football League standards by the required deadline - the Conference title.

Had Stevenage been overhauled their by nearest challengers, Woking, whose ground did meet the criteria, then Torquay, who finished bottom of the Third Division, would have been relegated.

Green yesterday suffered for his actions as Stevenage were fined, although it is suspended for two years and the club will only have to pay if they again breach FA rules in the next 24 months.

The club were also ordered to pay within 14 days a pounds 10,000 contribution to the costs of the hearing, which was heard by a three-man FA committee.

FA spokesman Steve Double said: "The committee decided that the club officials had been misguided in their behaviour [which] could not go unpunished although it took into consideration the regret expressed."