Points deduction not definite
The relevant part of the Premier League's Handbook reads as follows: "Sporting Sanction 60. Upon a Club or its Parent Undertaking suffering an Event of Insolvency the Board shall have the power to impose upon the Club a deduction of 9 points scored or to be scored in the League competition. If the Board exercises this power it shall forthwith give written notice to the Club to that effect.
61. Subject to Rule C.62, the Club may appeal against the deduction of points by sending or delivering to the Secretary Form 2 so that he receives the same together with a deposit of £1,000 within 7 days of the date of the notice given under the provisions of Rule C.60.2 (time of the essence).
62. The only ground upon which a Club may appeal as aforesaid is that 62.1 the Event of Insolvency was caused by and resulted directly from circumstances, other than normal business risks, over which it could not reasonably be expected to have had control; and 62.2 its Officials had used all due diligence to avoid the happening of that event.
63. An appeal under the provisions of Rule C.61 shall lie to an appeal tribunal which shall hear the appeal as soon as reasonably practicable. The appeal tribunal shall be appointed by the Board and shall comprise 3 members of the Panel including: 63.1 an authorised insolvency practitioner and 63.2 a legally qualified member who shall sit as chairman of the tribunal.
64. The chairman of the appeal tribunal shall have regard to the procedures governing the proceedings of Commissions and Appeal Boards set out in Section R of these Rules but, subject as aforesaid, shall have an overriding discretion as to the manner in which the appeal is conducted."
This means that the points deduction is discretionary (not automatic) and the club have a right of appeal - albeit somewhat limited. AA has said that he intends to contest the points deduction. Possible arguments he could deploy might be:
(a) The Premier League has partly caused the insolvency by refusing to allow sales of players outside the window (even though FIFA had agreed - if that is true) or to bring forward payments to which the club is entitled;
(b) The Premier League's rule that "football creditors" have priority before HMRC (let alone local Portsmouth traders and suppliers) has directly caused HMRC to petition for a winding up order, and it is this that has precipitated going into administration. Thus, it is the PL that has caused the problem;
(c) If, as a result of the points deduction, Pompey are relegated, this will reduce the value of the club and make it more difficult to agree a CVA with creditors and make it less likely that Pompey will emerge from Administration. It might also be possible to challenge any decision legally in the Courts on the grounds that nearly half the Premier League clubs (who wholly own the Premier League) have a direct financial interest in seeing Pompey relegated (as so charmingly explained by Mr Sullivan of WHU).
Natural justice suggests that any decision should be taken by an entirely independent panel. So it is not yet all over.
I wouldn't want to encourage false hopes, as life isn't fair, and the people with the money generally win. But another great escape is not inconceivable. This makes last Saturday's result all the more important, and if we can win our home games against Hull and Wolves, then the last few weeks of the season could be interesting. I expect we shall know a little more by Tuesday evening.
Play up, Pompey.
Written by erithacus rubecula.
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