BURY manager Chris Casper is 'devastated' by the mistake that has allowed Chester back into the FA Cup at his team's expense.
The Shakers were kicked out of the competition on Wednesday for fielding on-loan Hartlepool midfielder Stephen Turnbull in their second-round replay victory at Chester on December 12.
Although Casper had obtained verbal permission from Hartlepool boss Danny Wilson to play Turn-bull, he was unaware that written permission was required.
The 31-year-old boss offered to resign on Monday but this was turned down instantly by Bury's board of directors.
Casper said: 'I am devastated for the fans and the people of Bury. I realise I have let a lot of people down. It was a genuine mistake.'
Bury have accepted total responsibility for the administrative error, but the club feels the punishment handed down by the FA is too severe.
They were yesterday set to lodge an appeal and any hearing will take place next Thursday, although the FA will almost certainly stand by its initial decision.
The Shakers fell foul of FA Challenge Cup rule 15 (provisions concerning players), which states: 'A player on a temporary (loan) transfer is ineligible to compete in the Challenge Cup Competition unless permission to do so is given by the lending club in writing and a copy is received by the Football Association by noon on the Friday prior to the date fixed for playing the round.'
Bury's fate was decided at a Challenge Cup sub-committee hearing at the FA's Soho Square headquarters on Wednesday. In attendance were Casper, Bury director Iain Mills and consultant Graham Bean. The committee comprised Barry Taylor (Barnsley), Peter Barnes (West Ham) and Brian Moor (Yeovil Town).
This is believed to be the only example of a Football League team being excluded from the FA Cup in modern times.