SALISBURY City FC has been relegated to the Conference South despite an 11-hour battle to keep the club in the top flight of non-league.
A delayed announcement by the Football Conference Ltd, who had originally said they would issue their findings by 1pm today, was not enough to save the Whites.
It will mean heartbreak for Mark Winter, who has ploughed over £75,000 of his own cash into the club without ever seeing a ball kicked in the Conference by a team under his tenure as joint owner.
Late afternoon the Conference bosses issued the following statement concerning the membership of Salisbury: “The club has failed to meet the requirement to settle all football creditors in cleared funds by 5pm on Thursday, June 12. Furthermore, it has also failed to provide a financial bond of £50,000 by the same time and date.
“These elements constitute two of four requirements unanimously set by members of the Board of the Football Conference Ltd, in attendance and eligible to vote, on Friday, June 6 which, if fulfilled, would enable the club to retain its membership of the Conference National Division.
“If unfulfilled the club was advised at the meeting it would be liable to be expelled from the competition and the company under Article 5.2 or be relegated.
“At a board meeting today (13 June), the directors considered various issues relating to the club's financial stability, in particular the club's failure to provide the bond and its failure to settle all its football creditors by the due date.
“The directors in attendance at the meeting, and eligible to vote, unanimously agreed to invoke the latter part of its previous decision and relegate Salisbury City FC from the Conference Premier to Conference South.
“Furthermore, if a bond of £50,000 (or a bank guarantee) is not deposited, and the football creditors have not been settled in cleared funds, by 5pm on Friday, July 4, the club will be expelled from the competition and the company.”
The decision means Dartford FC, who were relegated last season, will be reprieved from relegation to Conference South and will stay in the Conference.