FC Barcelona risk being expelled from the Copa del Rey after allegedly fielding an ineligible player.
Young defender Juan Brandariz, better known as Chumi, started in a rotated Barca XI against Levante in the first leg of their cup tie with Levante last Thursday in which the Catalan club fell to a surprising 2-1 defeat.
However, Chumi was subject to a suspension from the Spanish FA (RFEF) after picking up his fifth booking of the season in the Segunda B. Chumi was given a yellow card against Castellón on Sunday.
Not realising this, Barcelona went ahead and included the promising centre-back but now face a pointless second-leg clash with Levante knowing they could be kicked out of the competition anyway - as happened to Real Madrid three seasons ago.
On that occasion, Madrid played Russian winger Denis Cheryshev in a Copa del Rey fixture against Cadiz not realising that he was suspended after picking up a suspension while on loan at Villarreal.
Article 76 of the RFEF's disciplinary code states: "To the club that sets an ineligible line-up with a footballer who does not comply with the regulations to be able to participate in a game, this will be given as a defeat, declaring the opponent the winner by a secore of three goals to zero, unless the winning margin was greater.
"In the case of a knockout tie, it will be resolved in favour of the opponent."
El Mundo, who broke the story, report that Barcelona sources have defended themselves against the claims but Madrid were thrown out of the Copa del Rey even after appeal in the Cheryshev case, an incident which contributed to Rafa Benitez's dismissal as manager of the Bernabeu club.
Independent News Service