February 24, 2024

Aston Villa Women could be expelled from this season’s Continental League Cup after fielding an illegible player in their 7-0 win over Sunderland – and that could mean a reprieve for the Lasses

After the shocking announcement that Aston Villa Women could be eliminated from the competition for fielding an ineligible player during their cup match, Sunderland might be given a Continental League Cup lifeline.

Carla Ward’s Villa defeated the Lasses 7-0 on Wednesday night to advance to the quarterfinals of the competition thanks to goals from Alisha Lehmann, Jordan Nobbs, Rachel Corsie, Ebony Salmon, and Adriana Leon. However, adding full-back Noelle Maritz in the second half may have cost Villa a spot in the final eight.

The Sunderland team huddle during the Barclays FA Women's Championship match between Durham and Sunderland at Maiden Castle Sports Park on November 05, 2023

Earlier this month, Maritz relocated from Women’s Super League (WSL) rivals Arsenal to Bescot Stadium. She started last week’s league match against Leicester City for her new team and came off the bench against Sunderland after the break.

However, the Switzerland international was seemingly already Cup-tied, having played three times for the Gunners in the competition earlier in the season. Maritz started Arsenal’s 3-1 victory over Bristol City in November, along with the 2-1 victory over Southampton later that same month. Another appearance arrived in the dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Tottenham Hotspur in December, which the Gunners won 4-3.

It seems that her appearance on Wednesday night might have broken Conti Cup rule 8.14. The rule states that any club found breaking the rules will be sent to an independent tribunal to decide what happens next, including possibly awarding the match to the other team.

A decade ago, Reading broke the same rules and were kicked out of the competition. The tribunal can only award the match to the other team if the player’s status is the problem.

It seems that her appearance on Wednesday night might have broken Conti Cup rule 8.14. The rule states that any club found breaking the rules will be sent to an independent tribunal to decide what happens next, including possibly awarding the match to the other team.

A decade ago, Reading broke the same rules and were kicked out of the competition. The tribunal can only award the match to the other team if the player’s status is the problem.

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