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Tribunal to look into Villa Women fielding an ‘ineligible player’ in Conti Cup

THE FA have referred Aston Villa’s fielding of an ineligible player in a Conti Cup clash to an independent tribunal.

The case of the WSL side’s alleged breach of contest regulations was passed to Sports Resolutions UK this evening as part of the FA investigations.

Noelle Maritz (left) was deployed as a substitute by Aston Villa during their group stage clash with Sunderland in the Conti Cup on Wednesday

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Noelle Maritz (left) was deployed as a substitute by Aston Villa during their group stage clash with Sunderland in the Conti Cup on WednesdayCredit: Getty
The former Arsenal defender came on in the 46th minute of the fixture replacing Rachel Corsie

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The former Arsenal defender came on in the 46th minute of the fixture replacing Rachel CorsieCredit: PA

It follows Villa’s 7-0 hammering of Sunderland in the Continental Tyres Cup group stage on Wednesday night.

Former Arsenal defender Noelle Maritz, who joined the club in a transfer from the Gunners this month, made an appearance as substitute in the game’s second half.

The Switzerland international had also played for the North London side in another group stage fixture in the League Cup earlier this term.

Maritz was included in the line-up of Jonas Eidevall’s team when they beat Tottenham 4-3 on penalties in December.

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Their victory followed a 3-3 draw in normal time in the group stage encounter.

However, contest rules forbid players from competing for more than one team in the competition within the same term.

On Thursday evening football’s governing body revealed they are investigating the matter following the alleged breach.

A written statement on the FA’s web site read: “We can confirm that we are investigating an alleged breach of Cup Rule 8.19 by Aston Villa during their FA Continental Tyres League Cup fixture against Sunderland on Wednesday 24 January.

“In accordance with competition rules, this matter has been referred to Sports Resolutions UK for consideration by an independent tribunal. Further updates will be confirmed in due course.”

Rule 8.19 states “no player may play for more than one club in the cup competition in a playing season”.

In a similar case back in 2014 Reading were axed from the Women’s League Cup that year.

The Royals included Bonnie Horwood in one of their games despite the midfielder making three appearances for Watford earlier in the season’s contest

Villa’s defeat of Sunderland meant the Midlands outfit had hypothetically reached the Conti Cup’s quarter-finals after finishing top of Group A.

Villa return to WSL action with a trip to Manchester United this Sunday

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Villa return to WSL action with a trip to Manchester United this SundayCredit: Getty

However, the WSL team  will now have to wait for the outcome of the independent tribunal hearing.

And Sunderland, must also wait to discover if they will be awarded a retrospective victory – and become one of the best finishing runners-up in the contest – following Villa’s rule breach.

The team, who are second in the Women’s Championship, will face Blackburn Rovers in the division on Sunday.

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