Spain’s top sports court has dismissed Real Madrid’s appeal against their exclusion from the Copa del Rey for fielding an ineligible player.
The administrative court of sport said it had “analysed the all the parties’ arguments” and ruled to dismiss Real Madrid’s appeal for fielding an “improper lineup”.
Real were expelled from the competition for fielding Denis Cheryshev in a first-leg 3-1 win over Cadiz on 2 Dec in the Spanish cup’s opening round.
Cheryshev was carrying a one-match suspension for yellow cards received last season while on loan at Villarreal, a fact that Madrid seemed unaware of until half-time in the Cadiz match.
Spain’s soccer federation published its decision to bar Madrid from the Copa on 4 December. The embarrassing mistake further dented Madrid’s image this season and deepened a crisis sparked by a demoralising 4-0 home loss to Barcelona.
However, the court said the club could still appeal the disqualification, but it would need to take its case to Spain’s normal law courts, effectively starting litigation against Spain’s federation. Such a case would have to be dealt with soon, as the first leg match in the last 16 between Cadiz and Celta Vigo is set for 7 January.