Midtjylland provide statement on Juninho controversy; Celtic right to ask questions

By David Walton

August 4, 2021

Midtjylland have provided a statement clarifying the situation with Juninho after the player featured against Celtic.

The Brazilian midfielder didn’t feature in the Danish side’s 3-0 loss to PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League qualifiers last night. This was due to the fact he picked up an eight-game suspension last season before moving to Midtjylland.

A FIFA disciplinary meeting concluded that the ban was a worldwide one, and not a domestic punishment. That means Juninho effectively shouldn’t have featured against Celtic in last week’s second leg at the MCH Arena.

However, Midtjylland have defended their usage of him. They state that they were only informed by FIFA before the PSV match. Clarifying their own stance on the matter, Midtjylland said the following on their official website:

“The Brazilian Football Federation handed out several quarantines in the spring after a disciplinary case in a match in Brazil, including to Juninho, who was awarded eight matches in the stands. In connection with the switch to FC Midtjylland, FIFA has had to assess whether the quarantine was exclusively valid nationally or world-wide.

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“FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee met yesterday afternoon, where it was decided to confirm the Brazilian Football Federation’s quarantine of a total of eight playing days, two of which have already been served in Brazil. That information was passed on by UEFA a few hours ago, which is why Juninho has been forced out of tonight’s showdown as well as the next five matches across all tournaments.

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“FC Midtjylland is investigating the possibility of appealing the ruling.”

Midtjylland have to answer for Juninho error; Celtic right to ask questions

The Danish club weren’t happy with the timing of the announcement Sporting Director Sven Gravesen bemoaned the fact the decision halted them from finding a replacement [Midtjylland website].

But Celtic are right to be asking legal questions on this. If there was a ban in place, it needs to be upheld. It shouldn’t be the case that Celtic are punished because nobody knew about it.

Midtjylland should’ve done their due diligence on the player when they signed him. It shouldn’t be down to FIFA to investigate whether one of their players should be banned or not. It was already set in stone, with the Danish club failing to understand the severity of the ban.

After all, let’s not pretend they won’t have known anything about it. Yet instead of informing FIFA or UEFA, they featured him against Celtic without clarification.

Granted, Celtic are out of the UCL. There’s very little chance of reinstatement given the first leg was played last night. But this is a bad look for Midtjylland. If Celtic were entitled to a 3-0 default win due to an ineligible player, there’s no chance we should just be brushing it off.

It remains to be seen what happens with this in the coming days. However, regardless of how innocent all parties are, rules are rules.

In other news, Joe Hart hails Callum McGregor for helping him to settle in at Celtic

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