No points deduction for Sunderland after Ji blunder

Ji Dong-won.
Ji Dong-won.
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SUNDERLAND will not be punished further for an administrative error which saw Ji Dong-won playing without full international clearance in four league games this season.

It has emerged that the South Korean striker was not fully registered for international clearance when he was involved against Fulham, Southampton, Crystal Palace and Manchester United at the start of the season

Those games ended in three defeats and a draw, so Sunderland hardly gained a material advantage, but Ji should not have been involved at all because a necessary paperwork had gone missing.

There has been social media talk of legal ramifications and legal action as well as points deductions.

But Sunderland - who originally brought the matter to the Premier League’s attention - accepted a heavy fine after the issue was brought to light and the case is now at a close and will not be revisited.

Sunderland deny claims that club secretary Liz Colney was fired by owner Ellis Short as a result of the mistake. She handed her notice in to the club in December.

Ji Dong-won himself left the club in the January transfer window to join Bundesliga outfit Augsburg ahead of a summer move to Borussia Dortmund.

As well as the four league games, Ji was involved in the 4-2 win over MK Dons in August, which he was also ineligible to play in.

The problem happened after Ji was loaned out to Augsburg last season.

When he returned, Sunderland had to wait for full international clearance but failed to realise they did not have it and in that time, then manager Paolo Di Canio played him in several games.

The issue has been embarrassing for both Sunderland and for the Premier League who thought he was registered and the matter was dealt with by a heavy fine and not made public at the time.

That is a source of embarrassment for both club and league, now the matter has come out publicly.

But the Echo understands that no retrospective action will be taken against Sunderland for something which was regarded as a technical oversight rather than an attempt to breach the rules.

It also helped Sunderland’s case that Ji Dong-won was an existing Sunderland player at the time, rather than a new summer signing.

Ji, who was a flop at the Stadium of Light, made only 26 appearances for Sunderland during his three-year stay at the club following his £2m signing from Chunnam Dragons. He scored two goals for the club during that time.

He has scored one goal in eight appearances for Augsburg