West Ham United’s U21 side have been eliminated from the Papa John’s Trophy after being handed a three-point penalty for fielding an ineligible player.
The Hammers’ youth side had initially progressed from the group stage of the competition – the second season in which they had managed to do that – after finishing second in their group.
They initially finished second in Group I having overcome Ipswich Town and Gillingham to progress to the next stage.
However, they have now dropped to third having been hit with a points penalty for fielding Ajibola Alese against Gillingham despite the youngster being suspended for picking up two yellow cards.
A statement from the EFL read: “The EFL Board has determined that West Ham United under 21’s will receive a 3-point penalty from this season’s Papa John’s Trophy group standings, for fielding an ineligible player in the Southern Group A fixture against Gillingham on 26 October.
“Having received yellow cards in each of the previous two group fixtures, Ajibola Alese was suspended from playing and unavailable for selection, though featured in the fixture which West Ham United under 21’s won 2-0.
“In accordance with Rule 30 of the Papa John’s Trophy, following consideration of all available evidence, the EFL Board has also determined that alongside the 3-point penalty, Gillingham will now be awarded the £10,000 win bonus as compensation for the costs of hosting the fixture, though no further financial penalty will be imposed on West Ham United for the breach in light of mitigating factors put forward by the club.”
The news will be a huge blow to Dmitri Halajko’s team, who were aiming to improve on their performance from last year having been eliminated by Peterborough United in the last-16.
They are next back in action on Saturday, November 20 as they take on Manchester City in Premier League 2 action at the Rush Green Stadium.
Source by Football London