Barcelona star ‘could face five-year ban’ after fresh complaint

The fallout from Barcelona’s Copa Del Rey win over Levante continues, with the side from Valencia filing a fresh complaint over Barca’s use of ineligible defender Chumi in the first leg.

Barcelona turned a 2-1 first leg deficit into a 4-2 aggregate win, with Ousmane Dembele scoring twice in a 3-0 second leg victory at Camp Nou.

Levante subsequently appealed to the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) the following morning.

But Spanish chiefs decided that Levante’s complaint was made too late, deeming that they should have done so within the 24 hour window after the first match, as stated within Spanish rules.

Messi made the difference in the 4-2 aggregate victory (Image: Getty Images)

Chumi, 19, had played in the game in Valencia despite picking up a fifth yellow card, and thus a suspension, in a Barca B fixture on January 6.

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Federation rules state that a suspended player cannot play for the senior team until he has completed a sanction, but Chumi played against Levante – subsequently missing the January 13 clash with Alcoyano.

Barca insisted that was the right match for him to miss, arguing that they believed the suspension was only valid for league games. Los Cules argued that, according to a recent clarification issued by the RFEF on the wording of its rules, Chumi’s ban was applicable to La Liga, and not the Spanish Cup.

However, that was denied by the RFEF.

But because Levante elected to wait until after the second leg to lodge their complaint, the RFEF disciplinary committee have rejected their case, an official statement declaring stating “because it was received outside of the established deadline”.

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An appeal was also dismissed by Spain’s Court of Arbitration.

But now, according to both Mundo Deportivo and Sport, a fresh complaint – filed on Monday and this time for ‘breach of sanction’ – has been accepted, leading to further disciplinary procedures against both the club and Chumi.

Barcelona are subject to a fine ranging from €3,000 to €30,000, while Chumi could have his playing licence redacted for a period from two to five years – according to Article 64 of the RFEF Disciplinary Code.

Barcelona have subsequently continued in the competition, losing their quarter-final first leg against Sevilla 2-0 on Wednesday night, but the row rumbles on.

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