Liverpool FC has avoided Carabao Cup expulsion but have been handed a fine after fielding an ineligible player in last week’s midweek cup victory over MK Dons.
The player in question is Spanish midfielder Pedro Chirivella who came on as a substitute in the 2-0 win. Although having been a Liverpool player since 2013, the 22-year-old did not have international clearance following his 18/19 season loan to Spanish second division outfit Extremadura.
A Liverpool spokesperson said: “The club accepts the judgement, outcome and punishment imposed by the EFL. We believe it is proportionate with the technical indiscretion committed and will be making no further representations.Even though there were mitigating factors which were beyond our control or jurisdiction, we believe it appropriate we apologise to the competition’s governing body and also to Milton Keynes Dons.”
Liverpool, who were rumoured to possibly be expelled from the competition, has been fined £200,000 for the discretion, with £100,000 being suspended until the end of the 2020/21 season.
Following the decision, the EFL released a statement which read: “Following a comprehensive review of all the evidence, the board determined that it wasn’t appropriate to expel the club from the competition because of a number of mitigating factors.
“In particular, the board noted that the club had sought the assistance of the Football Association in securing the return of the International Clearance prior to the start of this season, and the club had been able to include the player on team sheets for Premier League Two matches (under Premier League Rules) and one Leasing.com Trophy match, which resulted in the breach not being identified until the club reported the issue to the EFL and Premier League following the MK Dons match.
“As a result, the club has also been found guilty of misconduct in relation to the same breach for having fielded the player in the defeat against Oldham Athletic in the Leasing.com Trophy on 7 August, with the sanction incorporated into the financial penalty.
“The club will be liable for the suspended sum of £100,000, plus an additional sanction, if they were to again field an ineligible player in the Carabao Cup between now and the end of next season.
“The club’s breach was in part due to the challenges it encountered with securing the correct international clearance, and its subsequent ability to include the player on team-sheets despite the lack of clearance. As a result, the board concluded the most appropriate sanction was a financial penalty.”
The last time the integrity of the League Cup was called into question over the fielding of an ineligible player, was in 2013 when striker Ji Dong-Won featured for Sunderland again MK Dons.
Similar to Chirivella, the South Korea striker had not received international clearance and was also wrongly fielded in four Premier League games for Sunderland. Appeals were made from fellow Premier League clubs to deduct points from the Black Cats, however the Wear-side club avoided this and received a six figure fine instead.