Blackpool fined for breaching Checkatrade Trophy rules

Blackpool FC.
Blackpool FC.
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Blackpool are one of 12 clubs to be issued with a fine by the Football League for breaching Checkatrade Trophy rules.

Today the EFL has notified the club that it will be fined £3,000 for a breach of the competition's rules regarding fielding a full strength side.

It is thought the club has been penalised for substituting goalkeeper Sam Slocombe 11 minutes into their tie with Everton U21 in their last group game.

Gary Bowyer had already made five changes to his line-up, the maximum allowed by Checkatrade Trophy rules, but wished to field youngster Myles Boney in goal.

The fixture also came just two days after Blackpool had played Kidderminster Harriers in the first round of the FA Cup.

Blackpool FC chief executive Alex Cowdy said: "We are disappointed to receive a fine from the EFL for allegedly failing to meet rule 7.3 of fielding a 'full available strength' team.

"We were in a situation where we were asked by the FA to play our FA Cup first round match on the Sunday, and our EFL Checkatrade Trophy match was to be played on the Tuesday. Having been asked to play two matches in just over 48 hours, it was important to manage the players' workloads.

"Whilst we fulfilled the competition requirements by starting with five players from our preceding match, there was no rule stating when substitutions must be made.

"One of the aims of the competition is to develop younger players, an aspect that the invited clubs are able to take advantage of. If the competition is to remain in its current format, I would hope the EFL would consider reducing the starters from five to three in future seasons, which will allow League One and Two Clubs more opportunities to play and develop younger players."

The EFL said: "All of the offences punished were due to a failure to meet competition rule 7.3 of fielding a full strength team in and during all matches. The EFL did take into account a number of mitigating factors and also considered transgressions that were not within the spirit of the rules.

"The ‘full strength’ policy for the season 2016/17 competition was five of the starting line-up must have started the previous or following game (a reduction from six in season 2015/16) or five of the starting 11 who have made the most starting appearances in League and domestic Cup competitions fixtures during the current season.

"Invited category 1 Clubs were asked to follow a different set of criteria with 6 of the starting 11 required to be under-21 as of June 30, 2016. None of the invited clubs failed to comply."

This is the full list of clubs penalised:

- Luton Town - £15,000 (£5,000 per match)
- Portsmouth - £15,000 (£5,000 per match)
- Bradford City - £3,000
- Blackpool - £3,000
- Bristol Rovers - £3,000
- Milton Keynes Dons - £3,000
- Millwall - £3,000
- Charlton Athletic - £3,000
- Peterborough United - £3,000
- Sheffield United - £3,000
- Southend United - £3,000
- Fleetwood Town - £5,000

The 12 clubs fined have the right to appeal to the EFL Board. The remaining 36 clubs complied fully with rules.

All 32 clubs still involved in the competition will be subject to the relevant selection eligibility criteria as per the 2016/17 rules.