West Ham United are out of the EFL Trophy competition after fielding an ineligible player.
West Ham’s Under 21s have been dumped out of the Papa John’s EFL Trophy after young defender Aji Alese played in a game when he was suspended.
The EFL confirmed that the Hammers would be docked three points in the competition for the indiscretion.
It occurred when Alese played in their final group game against Gillingham last month.
The 20-year-old rising West Ham star was not allowed to play that game after receiving two yellow cards in each of the previous group fixtures.
But an oversight meant he played the full 90 minutes against the Gills – a game West Ham won 2-0 to take them to six points.
Now, after being docked three points, West Ham’s total is reduced to three and it means Ipswich overtake them as group winners with a tally of five points.
West Ham out of EFL Trophy competition after fielding ineligible player
Reports West Ham have been booted out of the competition are not strictly accurate as docked points were the official punishment. But it had the same effect.
There is a bitter irony to the situation which will evoke memories of the infamous Manny Omoyinmi saga back in 1999/2000.
The Hammers were forced to replay a League Cup quarter-final they had won against Aston Villa after Omoyinmi was brought on as a substitute in the original tie having already played for – you guessed it – GILLINGHAM – while on loan there in an earlier round.
West Ham lost the replay and were eliminated.
Of course this is not the first team so the consequences are nowhere near as serious or damaging to the club.
But West Ham have responded to the decision and laid some of the blame of the feet of the FA.
“West Ham United acknowledge the sanctions received from The FA and EFL in relation to our Under-21 team’s participation in this season’s EFL Papa John’s Trophy,” a statement reads on whufc.com.
“The Club has been fined and have had the three points collected in the 2-0 win over Gillingham in October removed from the Southern Section Group A total after inadvertently fielding an ineligible player during the fixture.
“Clubs are informed of on-field player disciplinary records and suspensions via The FA’s online portal and, despite this not identifying the suspension of the player concerned at the time and therefore the pertinent formal notification from The FA not being provided, the Club notes the decisions reached and await the full written reasons.
“The Club became aware of and volunteered this information to The FA at the time of informing them that another West Ham United player had triggered a suspension after picking up a further caution in their final game of the group stage, despite that information also not showing on the online portal or being correctly notified to the Club.
“The points deduction means that West Ham United’s Under-21s team now no longer occupy a top-two position in the Southern Section Group A table and will not qualify for the knockout stages of the competition.”