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Liverpool fined, not banned after fielding ineligible player in League Cup

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Liverpool have been fined £200,000 by the EFL after fielding the ineligible Pedro Chirivella during September’s 2-0 win at MK Dons in the League Cup third round.

The Reds were found to have used Chirivella in the victory at Stadium MK having not received international clearance following his return from a loan spell at Extremadura UD.

Chirivella replaced Naby Keita in the second half of the clash in Milton Keynes, but his involvement prompted an investigation that, at worst, would have seen Liverpool expelled from this season’s League Cup.

Instead the EFL Board have deemed a £200,000 fine, with £100,000 suspended until next season, punishment enough.

The sanction is also related to Chirivella’s inclusion in the EFL Trophy clash with Oldham Athletic in August, with a statement reading:

“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 2 matches (under Premier League rules) and one EFL 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 EFL Trophy on August 7, 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 League Cup between now and the end of next season.”

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 25, 2019: Liverpool's Pedro Chirivella during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between MK Dons FC and Liverpool FC at Stadium MK. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s fine follows precedent set by the Premier League‘s punishment for Sunderland in 2014, after the Black Cats fielded Ji Dong-won in four games, along with a further appearance in the League Cup.

Speaking on the issue in his pre-Salzburg press conference on Tuesday, Jurgen Klopp stressed that his “100 percent” concern was with Chirivella.

“It didn’t happen on purpose or whatever, but my only real concern is the player to be 100 percent honest,” he said.

The club have accepted the EFL’s position, and issued a statement to “apologise to the competition’s governing body and also to Milton Keynes Dons.”

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