Gateshead: Club suspended from National League after 'multiple breaches' of financial rules

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Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Gateshead have played at the International Stadium for the past 46 years

Gateshead have been suspended from the National League and refused a licence for next season.

The fifth-tier club have breached the league's rules on financial reporting and permitted loans, as well as defaulting on football creditors.

At a disciplinary hearing The Heed were found guilty of failing to obtain security of tenure over their ground.

The club have also been fined £3,500 and docked nine points from this season meaning they drop from ninth to 17th.

It is not yet clear how the league will be re-organised, although Gateshead can appeal to the Football Association over the suspension.

If the club appeal and are unsuccessful, they face the prospect of a drop of at least two divisions, with the sanction also applying to the National League North - the tier below.

BBC Newcastle reports that a takeover of the club by supporters from owner Dr Ranjan Varghese had been agreed this week, but is not yet complete.

Dr Varghese had said in March that he had agreed a deal to sell the club to former Rochdale chairman Chris Dunphy, but no further progress was made.

In a season of turmoil off the field, Steve Watson resigned as manager in January to take over at York City, while his successor Ben Clark was sacked at the end of a campaign in which they finished ninth.

Image copyright Rex Features
Image caption Gateshead's nine-point deduction for this season sees them drop from ninth place to 17th

They were also evicted from the International Stadium, which they lease from Gateshead Council, although they were allowed to play out the season at their ground.

The Heed currently have one player left contracted, Scott Barrow, but he will leave when his deal expires next month.

Players had seen their wages paid late and one member of staff claims she was sacked by Dr Varghese by text message.

Fans group Gateshead Soul, who helped pay for food and transport for unpaid players, still hope they can rescue the club and run it on a fan-owned model.