League to review administration loophole

May 9, 2007

The Football League are to review the loophole which allowed relegation-bound Leeds and Boston to go into administration and potentially escape the consequences of starting the new season with a 10-point penalty.

The two clubs went into administration when relegation became a virtual certainty and League chairman Lord Brian Mawhinney admitted there was a loophole in current regulations.

In Leeds' case the 10-point penalty will affect this season's points total, although the League have yet to confirm that Boston's punishment will be incurred this season, raising the prospect that they could begin life in the Conference on minus 10 points.

Given crisis-torn Boston's perilous state, and their previous history of financial misdemeanours, Conference chiefs will discuss allowing the club back into the top tier of non-league football at a board meeting tomorrow.

Mawhinney said: 'The loophole is that neither Leeds nor Boston will apparently suffer any hardship from the 10-point penalty that the clubs together decided should be afforded to a club that went into administration.

'What they did was perfectly legitimate but it has raised questions about our regulations. Do those regulations need to be addressed? Yes they do.

'We pioneered sporting sanctions because we were trying to protect the integrity of the competition so one club wouldn't get a financial advantage over the other clubs in the league.

'From my experience as a minister, when you bring in new legislation there will always be some people who think 'how can we get around this?'

'You know that you may need to need to revisit those regulations to try to close a loophole.'

The matter is expected to be top of the agenda at a meeting of the Football League board next week and new proposals will be submitted to chairman either at their AGM next month or at an EGM in September.

One club chairman told PA Sport: 'It is the hot issue at the moment but closing the loophole is a bit like shutting the door after the horse has bolted.

'This really should have been tackled a year ago.'

Leeds chairman Ken Bates put the club into administration on Friday and immediately formed a new company to buy it back again.

The move, for an undisclosed fee, wiped out a substantial chunk of Leeds' £35million debt and left Bates and his Swiss backers Forward Sports Fund in charge of the club and remaining assets.

Boston went into administration at half-time during the closing stages of Saturday's 3-1 defeat at Wrexham.