Updates from Friday, April 4
Ed Aarons of The Guardian has the latest on Sunderland:
Sunderland's season has gone from bad to worse after it emerged that Ji Dong-Won was allowed to play for the club in four games whilst ineligible.
Ben Smith of the BBC noted that the club has escaped a points deduction but has already paid a Premier League fine:
Sunderland have been fined by the PL for fielding an ineligible player. Paid in early 2014. No points penalty for club— Ben Smith (@BenSmithBBC) April 3, 2014
Sky Sports also reports that the matter is now closed.
Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail notes that club secretary Liz Coley was dismissed by owner Ellis Short after the error came to light.
Ji participated in Premier League games against Fulham, Southampton and Crystal Palace in August, and against Manchester United in October. He also helped the Black Cats to a 4-2 win over MK Dons in the early rounds of the Capital One Cup in August, a competition that Gus Poyet's side eventually finished as runners-up.
Knowing that they were then in breach of rule B14.5 and U11, per Ashton, Sunderland immediately confessed to the Premier League and were fined in December. However, that has not satisfied MK Dons, who are understood to be furious that Sunderland were not thrown out of the competition once the error was uncovered.
The South Korean had been sent on loan to German outfit Augsburg last season. Upon his return, Sunderland had to wait for international clearance, but this never came, unbeknown to then-manager Paolo Di Canio.
It wasn't until after the game against Manchester United on Oct. 5, 2013, that the error eventually came to light, but in such instances the Premier League sanctions are clear, per Ashton:
Any club found to have played an ineligible player in a match shall have any points gained from that match deducted from its record and have levied upon it a fine.
The company may vary this decision in respect of the points gained only in circumstances where the ineligibility is due to the failure to obtain an International Transfer Certificate or where the ineligibility is related to the player’s status only.
The board may also order that such match be replayed on such terms as are decided by the board which may also levy penalty points against the club in default.
That no points have been deducted and no games have needed to be replayed may not sit at all well with all the Premier League's other member clubs.
On the face of it, it appears that the Premier League has "hushed up" the entire incident, and it should therefore also be held accountable.
After enduring such a disastrous season to this point, Sunderland will be hoping that their quick admittance of guilt has saved them from any further punishment.