Havant and Waterlooville fullback Gregory banned from Liverpool clash

Romance of the Cup? Not a chance. The mean-spirited Football Association have broken Justin Gregory's heart and prevented him from playing at Anfield on Saturday, reports the Daily Mail.

The Havant and Waterlooville full-back was due to serve a one-match ban after picking up five bookings this season, but looked set to be available for the Liverpool FA Cup fourth round tie after Havant re-arranged a league match at Thurrock for Wednesday night.

But that was before the FA got wind of the Hawks' plans.

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Gregory said: "A reporter rang me on Thursday and said: 'Havant have put a game on to clear your suspension'. But as far as I was concerned it was being put on just clear the backlog. I said: 'You can suggest things like that. But I'd just be happy if the game goes forward'."

"If it was Sir Alex Ferguson or Jose Mourinho I'm sure this wouldn't have happened. I'm really disappointed in the outcome and hopefully the FA can put their heads together and overturn the ruling."

FA spokesman Mark Cooper said: "What Havant and Waterlooville have done is specifically arranged this match against Thurrock for the reason of enabling Justin Gregory to serve his suspension and therefore allow him to play against Liverpool.

"The club have admitted this. The club secretary, who came to our meeting yesterday, admitted that this was the specific reason they have arranged the Thurrock fixture.

"The club had done various interviews in the media talking about how they were planning to do this for this specific reason. We cannot turn a blind eye, if something comes to our attention we're going to look at it. We had a regulatory commission yesterday made up of four people and it was a unanimous decision - they saw this as an abuse of the system and therefore they said that his match should not count towards his [Gregory's] suspension."

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