Bolivian team Universitario forfeits match at 7-0 down after playing youth team
The Bolivian Footballers' Association (FABOL) have denounced Universitario for fielding youth players in a top-flight game at the weekend and have threatened to stop the competition should that happen again.
A dispute over unpaid wages saw Universitario rest their first-team players and instead use their under-19 squad, with players ranging from 15 to 19 years of age, in Sunday's encounter at Primera A leaders Wilstermann in the city of Cochabamba.
The game ended up being forfeited because, after trailing 7-0 at half-time, Universitario had only seven players return to the pitch after the restart with four not reappearing after they picked up knocks.
Universitarios' Facundo Villena then sustained a muscular injury two minutes into the second half, leaving coach Oscar Sanz without any players to field and resulting in referee Juan Garcia forfeiting the game.
FIFA rules state that there cannot be less than seven players of a team on the field during play.
"If club Universitario pretends to do the same outrage in the next round, we will paralyse the tournament," FABOL executive secretary David Paniagua said in a news conference as reported in DIEZ Bolivia. "We have spoken to the [club] captains and we have the full support of all the footballers."
Universitario, based in the city of Sucre, host CD San Jose on Sunday.
Paniagua emphasised the precarious position the club had put its youth players in.
"They have allowed players without a contract, who are as young as 15, to play," he said. "It's a disgrace, not just nationally but internationally. Because they don't have a contract, they don't have medical insurance, an issue which exposes them, in a totally irresponsible manner, to irreversible injuries, not only physical but psychological.
"This situation should never have been allowed by the [Universitario] club president [Eduardo Rivero]."
It's not the first time Universitario have fielded their youth team. In April 2015, they put a youth team on the pitch that was reduced to six due to injuries, leaving Bolivar to be awarded a 3-0 win.
Universitario had previously failed in their attempt to have the league game postponed because of a conflict with their Copa Libertadores commitments.
Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.