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Irish international at centre of storm as strugglers Birmingham charged for playing suspended Littlejohn

‘The club unequivocally supports Littlejohn and attribute this to an administrative error,’ a statement from the Blues reads.

Ruesha Littlejohn (left) in action against Bristol City in March.
Ruesha Littlejohn (left) in action against Bristol City in March.
Image: PA

A REPUBLIC OF Ireland international and her side are in hot water in the Women’s Super League [WSL].

Birmingham City Women FC have been charged by the Football Association [FA] for playing Ruesha Littlejohn while she was suspended, which could lead to a potentially massive twist in the English top-flight’s relegation dog fight.

Littlejohn’s side had just seemed to avoid the drop, but could now face a points deduction.

It’s understood the player should have been suspended for a league game, but instead served it in the cup. Littlejohn played the 90-plus minutes against Reading in the WSL on Sunday, when she should have been serving a suspension, while she sat out of the previous weekend’s FA Cup win over Coventry United.

In a statement today, the club say they “attribute this to an administrative error” and support Littlejohn.

This afternoon’s statement from the FA, in full, reads:

“Birmingham City Women FC have been charged with a breach of FA Rule E12 following their FA Women’s Super League fixture against Reading FC Women on Sunday [25/05/21].

“It is alleged Birmingham City Women FC failed to ensure that a player registered with the club complied with an automatic suspension.

“Ruesha Littlejohn has also been charged with a breach of FA Rule E10.

“It is alleged that the Birmingham City Women FC forward failed to comply with an automatic suspension by participating in a fixture.

“Both Birgmingham City Women FC and Ruesha Littlejohn have until Tuesday [04/05/21] to provide their respective responses.”

A statement from Birmingham adds that “the club unequivocally supports Littlejohn and attribute this to an administrative error,”noting that “no further comment will be made at this time.”

Littlejohn’s Irish team-mate at Birmingham, Harriet Scott, tweeted “ridiculous” earlier after the news broke, though it has since been deleted.

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Birmingham are ninth in the table on 15 points after a turbulent season on and off the pitch. West Ham United, Aston Villa and Bristol City are the clubs below them, sit on 14, 13, and 12 points respectively. The Blues face Manchester City away on Sunday, and finish their season with a home match against Tottenham Hotspur, having snatched a vital point against Villa at the death on Wednesday.

Littlejohn joined Birmingham City in January on a deal that will run until the end of the season after departing Leicester City.

The 30-year-old was born in Glasgow, and has had stints with Arsenal, Liverpool, Celtic, Glasgow City West Ham and London Bees during a colourful career. Having represented Scotland at U19 level, she declared for Ireland in 2012 and has impressed for Vera Pauw’s side of late.

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Emma Duffy

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