Reading kicked out of FA Youth Cup

READING have been thrown out of the FA Youth Cup for fielding an under-aged player.

Imari Samuels, 15, played in the 4-1 win at Colchester United in the last 16 of the competition on February 6th.

Rule 15j of the competition states that in order to compete, players must have turned 15 before midnight on August 31st of the current season. Left-back Samuels was only 14 on that date.

Reading say they realised their “inadvertent mistake” the following morning and immediately contacted the Football Association to notify them and to apologise.

However, the club has been thrown out of the competition, meaning Colchester will come back in to host Arsenal in the quarter-finals. Reading have until Monday at 4pm to lodge an appeal.

The Royals admit they did break the rule, making an appeal unlikely, but they have questioned the merit of the rule itself. TGG has written a lot about moving players into different age groups depending on their biological maturity - so is there a justification for setting a limit on how young players can be in the Youth Cup?

Reading pointed out “there is no rule to prevent Samuels… from playing every week in the U18 Premier League”.

They added: “Our Academy proudly continues to offer the invaluable experience of competitive football to talented young players who we feel can benefit from game time ahead of their respective age groups.

“We legitimately included four Under-15s in our Under-18s squad for a league match against Fulham less than a fortnight ago.

“Our philosophy within our Category One Academy is to ‘extend and consolidate’ – stretching young talented footballers with challenges designed to extend beyond their comfort zones where appropriate, before then consolidating what has been learned and working with them on a one-to-one basis to help them benefit from those experiences in training.”

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