Sat, Jan 19, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Barca risk ejection for fielding banned player in first leg

Reuters, BARCELONA, Spain

Barcelona could be thrown out of the Copa del Rey for fielding suspended defender Chumi Brandariz in their last-16 first leg defeat, after opponents Levante UD on Thursday said they would lodge a complaint with the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

Barca won 3-0 in the second leg to go through 4-2 on aggregate, but before the game, Levante president Quico Catalan said that his club would contact the federation yesterday.

The biggest stumbling block to any complaint is that the deadline expired on Monday, although the RFEF has previously approved claims made by teams after a deadline has passed.

Teenager Chumi’s ineligibility for the first leg was revealed in a story by El Mundo on Thursday.

“We believe there is enough jurisprudence that, unfortunately, obliges us to inform the federation about these facts,” Catalan said.

Barcelona spokesman Josep Vives said his club believed Chumi, 19, was eligible to play.

“We are surprised. We didn’t know about this situation. We found out through the press,” he said. “We’ve analyzed the situation and concluded that playing Chumi in the Copa del Rey was within the rules. The federation have also told us nothing.”

Chumi got a fifth yellow card in a Barca B game against Castellon on Jan. 6 and was banned for their next game against Alcoyano on Sunday, which he later served.

However, the young Spanish defender started the Barca senior team’s 2-1 Copa defeat at Levante on Thursday last week.

RFEF rules state that a suspended player cannot feature for the senior team until he has completed a sanction.

“We believe that he [Chumi] has a license to play in Segunda B [third tier]. Taking into account last year’s [RFEF] memo, the sanction should be served in the division he plays in,” Vives said.

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