The FA have formally charged Reading u18s with fielding an under-age player in the FA Youth Cup, and they’ve been removed from the competition as a result. Arsenal were due to face them in the quarter-final.
Reading announced on their club website that they attended a hearing with the FA on Thursday, after learning of the charge the previous week.
They say they ‘inadvertently’ included 15-year-old Imari Samuels in their starting eleven for their match against Colchester United in the previous round.
According to the regulations, all players who compete in the Youth Cup must be 15 before midnight on 31st August in the current season. Samuels was only 14 at that point, so he was too young for the competition.
Unfortunately, after hearing their case, the FA Youth Cup Sub-Committee ordered that Reading be removed from the competition. Colchester United will be re-instated, and Arsenal will face them in the quarter-final instead.
If Reading want to appeal the decision, they have to lodge their appeal by 4pm on Monday 19th February, and submit it in full by 4pm on Tuesday 20th February.
Unlike Reading, Colchester United aren’t in the top division of u18 football. Hopefully they won’t present a stronger challenge in the next round, but we’ll see.
In a way, Arsenal might have felt more confident facing Reading, as they beat them 6-2 earlier this month.
Now we just have to wait for the results of the appeal, if Reading decide to submit one.