Madrid - Real Madrid have had an appeal against their disqualification from the Copa del Rey rejected, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF)confirmed on Thursday.
"Every club is responsible for checking whether their players are eligible to play," the Federation's appeals committee said as they rejected an appeal made by Madrid last week.
The Spanish giants were thrown out of the competition for fielding an ineligible player, Denys Cheryshev, in their tie against third-tier side Cadiz last week.
Cheryshev not only started the match but also opened the scoring in Madrid's 3-1 win.
But he shouldn't have been on the field as he was due to serve a one-match ban in the cup after picking up three yellow cards whilst on loan at Villarreal last season.
"We received no notification from the Federation about suspended players or from Villarreal, for whom Cheryshev was playing when he got the card," said Madrid's director of institutional relations Emilio Butrageuno on Wednesday.
"And Cheryshev did not know anything about the suspension either."
The RFEF described Madrid's argument as "strange" and that not disqualifying them would imply that clubs could field ineligible players without being punished.
The return leg was scheduled for next Wednesday, December 16, and Madrid have continued to sell tickets on their website for the match as they remain convinced a further appeal to the Spanish disciplinary committee for sports will be successful.
Earlier this season, Spanish football saw second-division Osasuna booted out of the cup in an almost identical case.
And in 2001, Real coach Rafael Benitez was in charge of Valencia when they were thrown out of the same competition for fielding four non-EU players when only three were permitted.