Barcelona have denied that they broke Spanish football federation (RFEF) rules by fielding defender Chumi Brandariz in last week’s Copa del Rey last-16 first leg game away to Levante, a club source told Reuters on Thursday. Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported that Chumi, who started the 2-1 defeat by Levante, was not eligible to play the game as Federation rules state that a suspended player cannot play for the senior team until he has completed a sanction.
Chumi, 19, earned a fifth yellow card for third-tier Barca B in a game against Castellon on Jan. 6, meaning he was suspended from the team’s next game against Alcoyano, which took place on Jan. 13, three days after the Copa del Rey game at Levante.
A Barcelona source said Barca were relaxed about the story, saying the rules had changed and they had not fielded an ineligible player. A source at the Spanish federation said the organisation were looking into the matter and would provide further information later on Thursday.
Barca, who have won the last four editions of the Copa del Rey, host Levante in the return leg at the Nou Camp on Thursday. Real Madrid were expelled from the 2015-16 Copa del Rey for fielding Russian winger Denis Cheryshev in a last-32 match against Cadiz when he was supposed to be serving a suspension earned from the previous season when he played for Villarreal.