AFC HAYES have hit out at the Football Association over the ‘draconian punishment’ dished out to three of their players after admitting betting rule breaches.

Striker Lawrie Shennan was suspended for two years and fined £580.20, which includes the £330.20 net profit made from the bets, while goalkeeper Ben Goode was banned for one year and fined £606.42, inclusive of the £456.42 net profit made from the bets.

Defender Chevy Hart, who is no longer with the Southern League Division One Central outfit, received a four-month suspension and was fined £145.65, which includes the £45.65 net profit made from the bets.

The sanctions for Shennan and Goode have been set aside at the request of the players, while they await the written reasons for the penalty before deciding whether to appeal. Hart was also considering an appeal.

That allowed Shennan and Goode to feature for Hayes on Saturday as Ian Crane’s boys were beaten 2-0 at Rugby Town.

Hayes chairman Barry Stone gave a statement on behalf of the players during the hearing and has been left furious at the treatment his players have received.

Chevy Hart on the ball for Reading Town

Stone said: “The FA doesn’t seem to want to educate people, it seems to want to punish people. They are also quite happy to take on William Hill as a sponsor of the England team and the FA Cup, which I would suggest is encouraging betting.

“We’re already doing that [educating the players]. We probably didn’t do it, like a lot of other clubs, and very few of them know the rules. This case is nothing to do with match-fixing. The players have held their hands up and admitted it.

“If you look into it, you’ll see that Andros Townsend got charged and got four months, three months suspended, and fined £18,000. That’s peanuts to him. I think it’s a draconian punishment for two young boys who have made a mistake.”

At least one of the trio placed bets on matches involving AFC Hayes, however Stone insists the players retain the full support of the club.

“They actually bet on our games but there’s no evidence that match-fixing was involved. They’re young kids who have made a mistake. We’re not saying there should be no punishment, far from it, but it seems the lower the level you are, the harder you get it.

“We will speak to the players once we receive the reasons from the FA. It’s disappointing. We support the players 100 per cent. They are free to play and played on Saturday with the agreement of the FA.”

Football, AFC Hayes V Chalfont St Peter
Lawrie Shennan

In August, Accrington Stanley managing director Robert Heys was suspended from football for 21 months and fined £1,000 after admitting 735 breaches of FA betting rules.

Of those bets, 231 were on games involving Accrington and 37 of them were placed on Stanley to lose games.

Stone added: “There should be more education from the FA. We’re not 100 per cent happy that they were betting against us, but they also bet for us. They've picked up on this one and thrown the book at us.

“You can’t bet on any competition that you’re involved. It’s not just the players either, it’s the managers and the officials. We’re gutted for the players. If they had been involved in any trace of match-fixing they wouldn’t be playing for AFC Hayes.”