Liverpool avoid Carabao Cup expulsion but fined over ineligible player

Liverpool fined £200,000, with £100,000 suspended until end of next season

Pedro Chirivella  was a 63rd minute substitute in Liverpool's Carabao Cup win over MK Dons
Image: Pedro Chirivella was a 63rd-minute substitute in Liverpool's Carabao Cup win over MK Dons

Liverpool have avoided being expelled from the Carabao Cup after they fielded an ineligible player in their win over MK Dons.

Pedro Chirivella came on as a substitute in the 2-0 win away to the Sky Bet League One side in their third-round match on September 25, but did not have international clearance following the expiry of his loan with Spanish side Extremadura last season.

Liverpool have instead been fined £200,000 - with £100,000 suspended until the end of the 2020/21 season - which means they are free to face Arsenal in the fourth round on October 29.

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Highlights of the Carabao Cup third-round tie between MK Dons and Liverpool

"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," read a statement from the EFL.

"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 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 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."

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An EFL spokesman added: "The rules of the Carabao Cup require clubs to ensure all players are registered and eligible in line with their respective league's rules before they play.

"The player was always contracted to Liverpool FC during this period, and the reason he was not eligible was because the club did not have the relevant international clearance following expiry of an earlier loan agreement.

"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."

Following the EFL ruling, Liverpool issued a statement apologising for the "technical indiscretion".

"The club accepts the judgement, outcome and punishment imposed by the EFL," said a Liverpool club spokesperson.

"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."

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