It was bad news for Spanish giants Real Madrid as Spain’s administrative court for sport on Friday decided to upheld their disqualification from the Copa del Rey for fielding an ineligible player.
The court said in a statement that there were no grounds to suspend the decision of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to expel Real as the club had requested but it has yet to decide on the appeal itself.
“As of today, the administrative court for sport does not have all the documents that complete the dossier and as a result is not in a position to issue a final ruling,” it said.
The Spanish giants were thrown out of the competition for fielding an ineligible player, Denys Cheryshev, in their tie against third-tier side Cadiz last week.
Cheryshev not only started the match but also opened the scoring in Madrid’s 3-1 win.
But he shouldn’t have been on the field as he was due to serve a one-match ban in the cup after picking up three yellow cards whilst on loan at Villarreal last season.
“We received no notification from the Federation about suspended players or from Villarreal, for whom Cheryshev was playing when he got the card,” Real’s director of institutional relations Emilio Butrageuno said Wednesday.
“And Cheryshev did not know anything about the suspension either.”
Real Madrid had asked the court to temporarily suspend their expulsion while they awaited the outcome of their appeal and had continued to sell tickets on their website for the return leg against Cadiz on December 16.
Real Madrid said it “respected he court’s decision” and would “immediately” give fans who bought tickets for the return match against Cadiz a refund.
The club turned to the court after the RFEF’s appeals committee on Thursday rejected an appeal it made last week against their disqualification from the Copa del Rey.
It described Real Madrid’s argument as “strange” and said that not disqualifying them would imply that clubs could field ineligible players without being punished.
The appeals committee said the club was responsible to know the situation of its players and that Villarreal received a fax informing it that Cheryshev had been sanctioned and thus considers the player was informed.
Earlier this season, Spanish football saw second-division Osasuna booted out of the cup in an almost identical case.
And in 2001, Real coach Rafael Benitez was in charge of Valencia when they were thrown out of the same competition for fielding four non-EU players when only three were permitted.