National League: Darlington FC, Hungerford Town & Poole Town denied play-off places

Poole Town flag
Poole Town are currently inside the final National League South play-off place

Three teams will not play in the National League play-offs after failing to overturn decisions to block them.

Sixth-tier Darlington FC, Hungerford Town and Poole Town were all bidding to feature in the promotion play-offs in the North and South divisions.

The trio were prevented from doing so as their grounds did not have 500 covered seats across two stands.

The National League's decision was upheld by an independent FA panel at Wembley on Wednesday.

An FA statement said: "The board, after considering the evidence dismissed the appeal and agreed with the decision of the National League which was made in accordance with FA rules and the Grade B criteria document in that the four mentioned clubs have not met the required grading by 31 March of the current season to compete in the National League play-offs.

It added: "This decision is final and binding."

The league declined to make any detailed statement, but recommendations were understood to have been made to change the competition rules next season.

Poole currently occupy the final National League South play-off place in fifth, with a game to play, while Hungerford are two points behind in sixth.

Eighth-placed Wealdstone also confirmed their failure to overturn a decision preventing their participation in the play-offs, which leaves Hampton & Richmond set to take Poole's place.

Darlington, fourth in National League North, declined to make any further comment.

BBC Sport has contacted the FA for a response.

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