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Barca escape Copa del Rey expulsion after federation rejects Levante complaint

FC Barcelona will remain in the Copa del Rey after the Spanish football federation (RFEF) said on Friday it had rejected Levante’s complaint that the Catalan side fielded an ineligible player.

Levante said Barca had used defender Juan `Chumi’ Brandariz in last week’s Copa del Rey last-16 first leg game when he was supposed to be serving a suspension.

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A statement from the federation said the head of the competition, Carmen Perez, had rejected Levante’s complaint because it arrived after the 48-hour deadline.

“After studying the complaint and the corresponding allegations, the head of the competition has decided to maintain the result of the tie and keep FC Barcelona in the quarter-final draw,” the federation said.

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Levante, who were 2-1 winners in the tie, said in a statement that they would appeal the decision.

Barca, who have won the last four editions of the Copa del Rey and have lifted the trophy a record 30 times, won Thursday’s second leg.

They beat Levante 3-0 at the Nou Camp for a 4-2 aggregate win.

Ernesto Valverde’s side will now face Sevilla, who they thrashed 5-0 in last year’s final, in the quarter-finals following the draw.

The draw was made shortly after the federation announced it had rejected Levante’s complaint.

The federation’s decision means Barca escape the fate of Real Madrid, who were thrown out of the 2015/201616 Copa del Rey for playing Denis Cheryshev in a last-32 game against Cadiz.

Their opponents claimed the player was supposed to be serving a suspension from the previous season when he played for Villarreal.(Reuters/NAN)

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