Barcelona escape Copa expulsion after Levante complaint rejected

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Levante's appeal against Copa del Rey elimination after alleging Barcelona used an ineligible player has been rejected by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

The Valencia-based club beat Barca 2-1 at home in the first part of their two-legged clash, as Ernesto Valverde shuffled his pack, giving games to fringe players and youngsters.

Among the unfamiliar names in the starting XI was defender Chumi, who Levante believed to have been suspended for the match after accumulating five yellow cards for Barca's 'B' team in the third tier.

Barca were convinced Chumi was eligible, with Valverde suggesting the defender's suspension was active for last weekend's win over Eibar, while the club understood a rule change in November meant a reserve player can feature for the first team in another competition as long as the suspension is less than a two-match ban.

However, the RFEF have ultimately rejected Levante's appeal due to their complaint being lodged too late.

An RFEF statement read: "The sole judge of the competition, Carmen Perez, considers in accordance with the regulations in force in the RFEF that the complaint presented by Levante at 9:33am on this Friday has been received outside the established deadline.

"Levante has denounced today against the Royal Spanish Football Federation a possible improper alignment of Barcelona player Juan Brandariz Movilla, 'Chumi', in the match played by both teams at the Ciutat de Valencia Stadium on January 10 in the first leg of the last 16 of the Copa del Rey.

"The unique judge of competition, Carmen Perez, notified the same to Barcelona, the presented/displayed allegations.

"Once the complaint and the corresponding allegations had been studied, the single judge of the competition has decided to keep the result of the tie and keep Barcelona in the draw for the quarter-finals for the reasons previously stated.

"This resolution reflects the criteria that the competition and appeals committees and the former Spanish Committee for Sport Discipline have applied repeatedly in their decisions, as the competition judge expressly mentions [in the case document]."

Source Omnisport