READING FC have been kicked out of the FA Youth Cup for fielding an UNDER-AGE player.

Royals handed a start to 15-year-old left-back Imari Samuels in their 4-1 victory against Colchester United in the fifth round earlier this month.

David Dodds' Under 18s side were due to host seven-time winners Arsenal in the quarter finals.

But the rules of the competition state any player taking part must be aged 15 before midnight on August 31 of that particular season.

Samuels was 14-years-old at that cut-off point and therefore ineligible for selection.

Reading are blaming the oversight on an 'administrative error' and say they immediately contacted the FA as soon as they realised their mistake in the hope of replaying the tie.

However, Royals were formally charged by the FA last week and were expelled from the competition at an FA Youth Cup sub-committee hearing at Wembley Stadium earlier today.

Reading are considering appealing the verdict as Southend United were allowed to replay a tie in the same competition following a similar error over an under-age player during the 2015-16 campaign.

Reading FC released a statement this afternoon that said: "We accept that fielding an under-age player is a breach of the rules for this specific competition and openly admit that, under Rule 15 (j), Samuels was not eligible to play in the Fifth Round win.

"Upon realising our unintentional mistake the following morning, the club were proactive in making immediate contact with the FA to make them aware of the administrative error and unreservedly apologise.

"We were formally charged by the FA last week and the club attended a hearing at Wembley Stadium earlier today, hoping that our young players would not be denied the opportunity to continue their cup run and we would be permitted to replay the tie – a decision which was taken by the FA when the same oversight of fielding an under-age player was made by Southend United in the same competition in 2015-16."

It continues: "Despite presenting our case at length to an FA Youth Cup Sub-Committee earlier today, it was ordered that the Royals should be removed from this season’s FA Youth Cup and Colchester United re-instated."

The FA will send Reading the full details of its decision before 4pm tomorrow.

Royals then have until 4pm on Monday to lodge an appeal before submitting all details before 4pm the following day.