Shropshire Star

Aston Villa Women set for sanction over ineligible player

Villa Women face possible punishment after fielding an ineligible player in Wednesday’s 7-0 Continental Cup win at Sunderland.


New signing Noelle Maritz came off the bench in the second half despite having already played three times for Arsenal in this season’s competition.

Villa’s win confirmed their progress to the quarter-finals as Group A winners, but the FA are now investigating with rules stating players cannot play for more than one team in the competition, with any decision potentially having wider ramifications for the tournament as a whole.

The regulations state: “Any club found to have played an ineligible player in a cup match or cup matches shall be in breach of these rules and the matter shall be referred to an independent tribunal for determination pursuant to Rule 3.7.1(d).

“Subject to Rule 8.14.3, the independent tribunal may: (a) order that the cup match or cup matches be awarded to the opposition club; or (c) make any such other order that the independent tribunal may decide.

“The independent tribunal may determine not to order that the cup match be awarded to the opposition club only in circumstances where the ineligibility is due to the failure to obtain an international transfer certificate or where the ineligibility is related to the player’s status.”

Should the win be awarded to Sunderland, it could have a knock-on effect for Manchester United, who are currently on course to qualify as one of the two best-placed group runners-up.

Another three points for the Mackems would change that, while Villa would still have a superior goal difference to the Red Devils.

United boss Marc Skinner said: “Of course you’re aware, you have to be aware. Mistakes can happen of course, but that should not be at the detriment to Manchester United.

“I think it would be a mockery of the league if we did that.

“So I suggest that we need to make sure that Manchester United go through, especially with how hard we’ve had to work for it.”