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Estonian Cup: Cupholders's win overturned by bureaucratic blunder

Angelo PalmeriComment

LATEST: Estonian FA confirmed Levadia's win over Saue JK Laagri is voided on their website. The amateur club progresses to 1/8 and will clash with FC Flora

The recent European football news have been populated with the landmark blunder committed by Legia Warsaw and costing Ojamaa’s club (he is on loan to Motherwell now) a place at the Champions League play-offs.

Any kind of appeal forwarded by the ‘Legion’ was rejected and granted Celtic FC a lucky access to the back door of the major European competition.

The decision spurred a chain of indignation in Poland: ‘football lost’, ‘UEFA-mafia’ and a series of messages of support for NK Maribor, the next opponents of Legia. Polish prayers were listened by the God of Football since the Hoops were eliminated by the competition and tumbled into Europa League. Or simply they were ‘not good enough’ as coach Ronny Deila admitted to the press in the aftermath of the elimination.

If Legia feel frustrated about all that happened, albeit formally supported by the rules, they will probably feel less alone starting from today.

Their partners in misfortune for this season are FC Levadia.

The 1/16 of finals as they appeared after the draw that took place at the Estonian FA offices (EJL Facebook)

The 1/16 of finals as they appeared after the draw that took place at the Estonian FA offices (EJL Facebook)

It’s a warm and sunny autumn evening in Tallinn and Kadriorg prepares for a game of football. It’s the 1/16 of finals of the Estonian Cup. The competition runs across two calendar’s years unlikely the Nordic calendar of the top-flight, Premium Liiga.

It will stop in October-November at the 1/8 of finals and resume in Spring with quarter finals before running into the Cup Final held, as usual, in May.

The big clubs have not yet clashed with each other but taken on amateur sides. Like Nõmme Kalju, smashing Ambla Vallameeskond in 1/32 18-0. Ordinary games, nothing more than a training practice.

As it was supposed to be the clash last night between Cupholders FC Levadia and amateur side, Saue JK Laagri (belonging to II.Liiga, West-South group).

Marko Kristal opted for a reasonable rotation however, there were at least 7/11 of the regular line-up including striker Ingemar Teever and Estonian international Igor Subbotin (Levadia's available topscorer since Vladislav Ivanov left). In few words, no surprises were expected here.

After 38 minutes Levadia led already with a comfortable 3-0 thanks to Subbotin, Penic and Makarov goals. The full time was 5-0 with Roosnupp and Tipuric adding theirs in the dying minutes. Probably the surprise itself was Levadia winning ‘just’ 5-0 as a bigger scoredraw was expected.

However, the real surprise was yet to come.

Looking at the substitutions, Marko Kristal replaced Ingemar Teever during the break with young Magnar Vainumäe. Vainumäe is a 1998-born striker dividing himself between Esiliiga second team of Levadia, the third team in II.Liiga East-North group and the U-17 ‘Eliitliiga’ tournament.

What was supposed to be a prize for the young lad, turned into a nightmare for the club as soon appeared on the Estonian FA website (picture below).

'ÜLESANDMATA MÄNGIJA' aka 'Ineligible player'

'ÜLESANDMATA MÄNGIJA' aka 'Ineligible player'

The ineligibility of Magnar Vainumäe for this cup game will cost Levadia the tie as Saue JK Laagri will be awarded with a technical win. In the next round, they will clash with FC Flora.

Vainumäe entering the history of the club from the wrong door (EJL)

Vainumäe entering the history of the club from the wrong door (EJL)

Mihkel Uiboleht, press officer at Estonian FA. soon explained the reason of the ineligibility. The FA representative talked about the situation to Estonian portal ‘since Vainumäe is registered with the third team (Levadia III –edit) and the competition’s rules allow a side to field only the players registered within the team involved in the tie (hence first team players of Levadia were the only eligible ones along with second team, Levadia II –edit), he was not eligible for this game.

At the same time, remarked the press officer, the document has not reached the Estonian FA offices yet, as the one available online is a non-official one. Is there hope for Levadia? ‘When the documents will be checked and the mistake found by our employee, the result will be cancelled’ – explanation of why it still shows the full-time result of last night as we write.

It is not the first time that such a blunder happens this season. Nõmme Kalju saw the first three point of the Premium Liiga taken away from their hands for a similar mistake.

Levadia will not be able to defend the Cup won in May against FC Santos Tartu.

Dura lex, sed lex.