Was Defoe Eligible to Play?-Burnley to Ask FL?
Burnley, according to the Daily Mirror, will be writing to the Football League to clarify whether Jermain Defoe was eligible to play for Tottenham in the Carling Cup semi-final. Defoe was in the starting eleven for the second leg and indeed scored the second Spurs goal in that heartbreak last two minutes of extra time.
Defoe was paraded in front of the crowd before the start of the first leg at White Hart Lane having supposedly signed from Portsmouth.
He did not of course appear in that game as he had signed too late in the day.
However it would also appear that although he had signed a deal he had not been officially registered before the start of the first leg which Spurs ultimately won 4-1.
The Clarets are therefore seeking clarification as to whether the player was eligible to play in the second leg of the tie if he was not eligible in the first.
It is believed that the rules state that players must be signed before the 'tie' starts.
The 'tie' therefore presumably applies to both legs since they are part of the one final result with aggregate scores being taken into account.
This will form the basis of the Clarets case and they may have a point. The implications could be hugely significant if Defoe is found to be not eligible to play.
The heartbreak of Wednesday night last week when the Clarets after 90 minutes were leading 3-0 before Spurs scored two goals in the last two minutes of extra time is still being felt by all Clarets fans. The 6-4 aggregate win with Spurs booking a Carling Cup Final trip to Wembley still wrangles at the back of all Clarets fans' minds.
If the case is proven , could this mean it is the Clarets who will be going to Wembley? We are a long way from that at the moment but the law is the law and it will be interesting to see how this enquiry develops.
It would be rough justice on Spurs if their Wembley final is taken away from them but then it also seems rough justice at the moment for the Clarets.
It is only the Carling Cup that has this bizarre extra time ruling when aggregate scores are level after 90 minutes of the second leg. Surely if away goals count double, the Clarets won this match after 90 minutes and it is clear that the crazy rule of having to play 30 minutes of extra time hugely favours the team that is first out of the hat,playing the first leg at home.
In terms of the Carling Cup rules on this issue though,Spurs won fairly and squarely and the Clarets knew the rules, no matter how unfair they seemed.
However the Defoe situation is another matter and a potentially serious one that needs to be urgently clarified. I would not feel totally comfortable if we got to Wembley by the back door although I do think justice and fairness would be restored.