OFFICIALS have been forced to delay a prestigious cup final at the 11th hour following a dispute over which club should take part.

The Dorset Premier League showpiece had been due to be staged tomorrow at Weymouth’s Bob Lucas Stadium between Holt United and Gillingham Town reserves.

However, it has been put on hold after champions Holt last week launched an appeal having been thrown out of the competition for an apparent breach of the rules.

Losing semi-finalists Swanage Town & Herston, who were beaten 2-0 by Holt in the last-four clash on April 1, are understood to have alleged that the Bulls had fielded an ineligible player.

A statement which appeared on the DPL website on Thursday read: “Following a protest lodged in accordance with league rules after the recent DPL League Cup semi-final match between Holt United and Swanage Town & Herston, and after a full investigation, Holt United have been removed from the competition in line with League Cup Rule 5 (G).”

But a day later, another statement was published by the league which read: “Following additional communication from Holt United, separate to correspondence already received by the league, Holt United have indicated they will now be appealing the decision to remove them from the League Cup. This means that next week’s scheduled final will be postponed until the appeal process has been concluded.”

Although not confirmed, the player at the centre of the dispute is believed to be Martin Smith, who was dual registered by Holt from Verwood Town.

Nathan Saxby scored both goals in the semi-final, which was twice postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Swans’ Day’s Park and subsequently moved to Holt’s Petersham Lane.