Last night, Real Madrid defeated 3rd division side Cadiz 3-1, in the Copa del Rey round of 32 first leg. After scoring in just the 3rd minute, Cadiz fans realised that Real Madrid left winger Dennis Cheryshev was not eligible to play, following 3 consecutive bookings in the competition, during previous season with Valencia.
Real Madrid’s staff subbed him off just 40 seconds into the 2nd half, subsequently calling La Liga officials from their bench. In the past, Real Madrid have established a reputation in Spain for manipulating league rules, particularly during the Franco regime. Cadiz fans also chanted to Rafa Benitez, “check your twitter”, as that how they all found out.
For rival La Liga fans, any league mandated punishment will be a sweet piece of justice, after years of feeling unfairly treated by the Spanish football association. However, this morning Real Madrid released a statement, “there is an article, 41 of the Spanish Football Federation's Disciplinary Code, it states that the possible sanction will not take effect if the interested party is not notified personally and the player was not notified. That is why Cheryshev was playing". The Real Madrid faithful also reacted to the bizarre events on the pitch by chanting “Cheryshev I love you”.
This is another great reminder of just how important the connection of supporters is with this game. Their undying passion for their teams often leaves them more in the loop than the football clubs themselves. Let this serve as another example to football organisations, that fans truly do deserve a greater voice in the game.
Real Madrid official Emilio Butragueño continued his statement, "I spoke to the Federation tonight and we will see what happens over the coming hours. The ruling will be made on Friday and our legal representatives will have something to say.” If they get away with this one, you can surly expect supporters around the country to make their voices heard. Most however, are reporting that Real Madrid will be banned from the Copa Del Rey for the remainder of the season.