saints in crisis

Southampton to appeal their 10-point penalty

April 24, 2009

Southampton will continue to investigate the possibility of appealing a 10-point penalty which looks to have condemned them to relegation from the Championship.

GettyImagesThe fans are behind the side, but the money is not.

The Football League imposed the penalty having investigated Saints` finances since their holding company, Southampton Leisure Holdings plc, went into administration.

Southampton argued that because the club itself is not in administration they should avoid the mandatory points penalty, but the League decided the 10-point deduction stands.

If the south-coast club finish outside the bottom three they will still be relegated as the points will be taken from this season`s total, while if they finish in the drop zone they will start next season in League One on minus-10 points.

Saints, currently second from bottom and four points from safety, therefore face the bizarre prospect of playing their final two games for the right to start the League One season on zero points rather than to avoid the drop.

But the saga is set to drag on after administrators issued an angry response to the League`s decision.

Their statement read: ''The administrators and the club were informed of the League`s intention to issue a release on the findings of the independent forensic report five minutes before its publication, leaving no time for consultation and to inform fans, players and staff.

''We are of the opinion that an incorrect conclusion has been reached. The football regulations do not apply to the circumstances surrounding Southampton Football Club.''

Saints also refuted the Football League's claim they withdrew their co-operation towards the investigation.

The statement concluded: ''Both the club and the administrators are now considering their positions and expect to launch an appeal.''

Football League chairman Lord Mawhinney acknowledged the club do have the right to appeal.

Speaking on Sky Sports News, he said: ''There is an appeal mechanism and it's up to Southampton to decide whether they want to appeal and on what basis.''