Why Liverpool owe Sunderland and Ji Dong-Won a great deal of thanks after fielding an ineligible player

Liverpool hit the headlines this week after playing an ineligible player in their Carabao Cup win over MK Dons - but haven’t been booted out the competition as a result.

Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 11:53 am
Ji Dong-Won played for Sunderland having not received international clearance

And the Reds could owe Sunderland a great deal of thanks after remaining in the tournament, with the Black Cats own transgression back in 2014 having set the precedent for fielding an ineligible player.

Back then Sunderland, still in the Premier League, were founded to have fielded Ji Dong-Won in five games without having received the relevant international clearance for the striker.

The South Korean international had spent part of the previous season on loan at German outfit Augsburg, with Sunderland failing to secure international clearance upon his return.

Ji, then 22, played in five games while ineligible - Premier League clashes against Fulham, Southampton, Crystal Palace and Manchester United and a League Cup tie with MK Dons.

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The Black Cats made the Premier League aware of the error and later were forced to pay fines to both the top flight and the EFL.

However, having explained the reasoning behind the error to Premier League rivals, Sunderland avoided any further punishment - such as a points deduction or removal from the League Cup.

And such a punishment proved key when the EFL decided how to sanction Liverpool - who fielded Pedro Chirivella in their third round tie under similar circumstances, and were therefore handed a similar fine of £200,000 rather than a suspension from the competition.

The fines handed to Sunderland were not disclosed at the time.