MADRID • Real Madrid have been thrown out of the Spanish King's Cup after the 19-time holders fielded an ineligible player in their tie against third-tier side Cadiz, the Spanish Football Federation confirmed on Friday.
In the first leg of their fourth-round tie on Wednesday, Russian international Denis Cheryshev not only started the match but also opened the scoring in Madrid's 3-1 win.
But he should not have been on the field as he was due to serve a one-match Cup ban after picking up three yellow cards while on loan at Villarreal last season.
The federation's competition committee judge ruled that he was "ineligible to play... so Madrid have forfeited the game and the tie is resolved in favour of Cadiz".
Real, Europe's richest club, were also slapped with a fine of 6,001 euros (S$9,000).
The club have 10 days to appeal.
In a statement, Real said the ban could not have taken effect as Cheryshev did not know he was suspended.
"The competition judge acknowledges that Cheryshev was not personally notified about his ban," the club said.
"Real Madrid can verify the acknowledgement that the Spanish Football Federation did not personally notify Cheryshev about his ban, which is the only way the ban can take effect.
"We will take the appropriate action to ensure that the final outcome is favourable for the club."
Earlier, Real president Florentino Perez had insisted at a press conference that his club were not at fault and should not be disqualified from the competition.
He said Real did not receive a list from the federation drawn in July of all the players who were under the threat of a suspension.
He also argued that according to the club's interpretation of the competition's by-laws, previous bookings are voided at the start of the round of 32.
The federation's judge dismissed Perez's arguments, noting in his ruling that it was "implausible" that the player did not know that he was sanctioned.
"There's no doubt that the sanction of suspension was notified personally to the player," he said.
The head of the Spanish league, Javier Tebas, earlier on Friday said he felt the possible disqualification of Real over the affair "seemed a bit disproportionate".
This season, Spanish football saw second-division Osasuna booted out of the Cup in an almost identical case. In 2001, Real manager Rafael Benitez was in charge of Valencia when they were axed from the same competition for fielding four non-European Union players when only three were permitted.
Real took off Cheryshev, who is usually on the fringes of the first team, right at the start of the second half when they apparently realised their error but Cadiz filed an official complaint.