Sunderland field ineligible player: Relegation threatened side 'will not face points deduction' for playing Ji Dong-won

 

Sunderland are confident they will not face further punishment for allegedly fielding Ji Dong-won in four games for which he was ineligible.

Sources on Wearside have revealed the club considers the matter closed after a report on Tuesday evening claimed they had been fined in December after they made the Premier League aware that they did not have international clearance for the striker.

Sunderland are confident they fulfilled their responsibilities when the administrative error came to light, and insist there is no ongoing investigation amid speculation that the relegation-threatened club could yet be docked points.

It is also understood that club secretary Liz Coley left her job in December to take up a new position, not as a result of the issue with Ji.

The 22-year-old South Korea international, who was registered with the Premier League and was included in the 25-man squad the club announced in August, made four appearances, three as a substitute against Fulham, Southampton and Manchester United and once from the start at Crystal Palace before the mistake was discovered.

Only the 1-1 draw at Southampton on 24 August saw Sunderland rewarded with a point. However, Ji also played in the Capital One Cup second round against MK Dons, which Sunderland won 4-2 on their way to the final.

Neither the club nor the Premier League was available for comment. The confusion seems to stem from Ji’s return to Wearside after a successful loan spell with the Bundesliga club Augsburg last season. But he soon returned to Germany, this time on a permanent deal, in January having made two more senior appearances.

Ji initially arrived from Chunnam Dragons for £2m in June 2011 during Steve Bruce’s spell in charge, but started only six senior games, although he did score the winner against Manchester City on New Year’s Day 2012.

PA

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