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When is there a right to replay a football match? FIFA, UEFA and The FA laws on fielding an ineligible player

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Tuesday, 14 June 2022
By Grahame Anderson

Consider this scenario: a club fields an ineligible[1] or suspended player in a match.  That club wins the match.  The player’s ineligibility or suspension is then discovered and the offending club is subjected to a form of disciplinary process and is penalised.

The innocent, losing club has no points from a match in which the opposition fielded a player who should not have been on the pitch in the first place.  Should the match be replayed?

This situation plays out virtually every season[2]. Ultimately each case is fact-specific and the answer depends upon the particular competition rules applicable to the match played.

In practice what this means is that, whilst fielding an ineligible or suspended player in one competition may lead to a replay, in others it will not.  This article looks at the approaches taken in FIFA, UEFA and The FA’s competitions, and then sets out general guidance about when, and in what circumstances, a replay probably will and will not be ordered.

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Written by

Grahame Anderson

Grahame Anderson

Grahame is a barrister at Littleton Chambers and a member of Littleton’s Sports Law Group.  In addition to sports law, he specialises in employment and commercial work.

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