Kettering Town acting chairman George Rolls has been suspended from “all football activity” for five years after he was found guilty of all 3,076 Football Association charges that were made against him.
In a statement released today, Rolls said he was “flabbergasted and shocked” at the decision after an Independent Regulatory Commission found his breaches of FA Rule E3 and E8(a) proven.
Rolls denied one of the three breaches of Rule E3 (misconduct relating to his conduct during the investigation of the alleged breaches of the betting rules), 788 of the 974 breaches of the betting Rule E8(a) from the 2007/08 season, 1,595 of the 1,707 breaches from the 2008/09 season and 385 of the 392 from the 2009/10 season.
All the charges related to his time at Cambridge United and Weymouth before he became involved with the crisis-hit Poppies at the start of the year.
Rolls came into Nene Park along with Ritchie Jeune and helped the club get through the end of last season after they had been left with crippling debts.
The Poppies then entered a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) to clear their debts of £1.2m, which resulted in a double demotion to the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division.
He was also fined £10,000 and warned about his future conduct but his suspension from football begins immediately. He does have the right to appeal.
A statement from the FA said: “Mr Rolls’ suspension from football will begin with immediate effect and includes influence, management and administration.”
In response to the verdict, Rolls issued an apology and said: “I am flabbergasted and shocked at the decision that the disciplinary panel has taken in context to the charges levied against myself.
“I need to make a few points quite clear that the FA has a responsibility to all “participants” and that clear guidelines should be told to new “participants”, I received neither of these.
“I believe thousands of participants are falling foul of the FA rules as they are not aware of them and I am sure many more people will fall unwittingly into the same trap as I have done and further charges may well be levied against individuals.
“My involvement as club chairman will have to cease with immediate effect for the next five years but during the meantime, the hard work that has already been going on behind the scenes at Kettering Town, with strong leadership qualities from the new board alongside the new manager, will hopefully continue.
“This matter has never been a criminal investigation and I will not incur a criminal record because of it. I have merely fallen foul of FA rules to which I am very sorry.”
When contacted by the Northants Telegraph, a despondent Rolls added: “I have become very fond of Kettering Town in the short time I have been there and people shouldn’t forget that we came in to help and ensure the club’s survival.
“I feel extremely sorry for the Kettering Town fans because none of this happened during my time here.
“I believe the club will prosper. There is a fantastic manager in place and there is a new board of directors who are ready to take the club forward.
“This is not the end of me, it is a long sabbatical.
“Hopefully, by the time I can return to football, Kettering Town will be in the Football League.”