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Point deductions & transfer embargos make existence hopeless

February 18, 2010

Who should the finger of blame be pointed at?

Going into administration is the one thing that owners of Football clubs fear the most. Loss of massive amounts of money, the folding of a professional Football club, and a tarnished reputation that will never be regained. The current financial climate gives Football little hope, emphasising further the pointlessness and lack of sensitivity that the FA show towards clubs at the bottom of the money leagues.

Portsmouth FC and Crystal Palace FC have felt the full force of the FA’s lack of remorse in the situation. Let me put the question to you. How is a Football club, already at the bottom of the Premier League table fighting for survival, supposed to pay off their debts when any slim chance of retaining Premier League status, and thus a substantial sum of money, is whisked away from them by the governing body?

Now this hasn’t happened to Portsmouth yet, but it seems 99% likely that they will go into administration and be deducted the customary 10 points which would ultimately and indefinitely sink them into the Championship next season, unless of course they fold completely and their existence is banished. The scenario is still realistic.

With no chance of survival, and no chance of gaining any money from the Premier League for survival, Portsmouth would have no means of paying off their debt and little chance of retaining their status as a professional Football club. It bewilders me how the Premier League can implement such costly punishments to clubs who are already at the pit of survival, and not offer any support for that club in their battle against ceasing. Surely the last action you would take is to deduct points from that club?

The only way for clubs like Portsmouth to pay off their debt is if they are given the opportunity to retain their Premier League status, which at this stage of the season is still realistic, yet a challenging task. Come the end of the season, should Pompey be relegated, then points can be deducted from the next campaign. At least then, the FA have given Portsmouth a realistic chance to earn some money to pay towards debts.

The situation at Selhurst Park is slightly different to that at Fratton Park. Crystal Palace were riding high in the Championship, sitting just outside the play-off positions before they were sanctioned with a 10 point deduction. Palace now find themselves fighting the drop, and lie in 21st place, a point off safety. How can that be justified?

Palace may well have been promoted this season, meaning they’d receive an influx of money from the FA for their performance in the Championship and for competing in the Premier League the following season. This would mean that the majority of, or perhaps even all, of their debts would be paid off and Palace could concentrate on matters Football. It seems extremely irrational and illogical to strip Palace of any hope they had of reaching the top division in England.

The Football Association should be an organisation which helps Football clubs in times like these, instead of punishing them for matters off the field. As well as point deductions, transfer embargos are sometimes used, although not that often anymore. An inability to draft in new players means that clubs are stuck with players who may not be good enough to keep them in their division, thus costing them more money. If allowed to bring in a few players during the transfer windows, whether on loans or on transfers with money borrowed from the bank, then clubs may have more of a chance of surviving in their division, and therefore claiming a bit of extra cash which would be used to pay back the banks. Should the clubs not stay up despite all that, then punishments can be issued accordingly.

Is that not logical?

There have been developments today on the South Coast with Portsmouth appealing to the Premier League for permission to sell players outside of the transfer window. However, it is understood that the appeal will have to be passed not only by the Premier League, but by the FA and FIFA as well. Portsmouth are desperate to raise £4m to pay this month’s wages, and resolve more cash-flow issues.

Should Portsmouth be allowed to do this, or will this be unfair to other clubs in the Premier League and the rest of Europe?

For me, Pompey need all the help they can get, and if that’s being allowed to sell outside of transfer windows, then so be it. Nobody likes to see Football clubs go under, so help is needed for clubs like Portsmouth to get themselves out of trouble.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Chaza permalink
    February 18, 2010 6:47 pm

    I believe Pompey is going to be one of the greatest stories in football. Here in the States, they are one of my most supported teams, merely for being in such a foul state. Such a rich history and so much potential, unfortunately the owners(previous) have really screwed the pooch on this one. I hope they make it though. They could be the greatest story in football.

  2. Graham permalink
    February 19, 2010 2:03 pm

    While I am annoyed about the 10 point deduction Palace have received, as it wasn’t our decision to go into administration (to avoid paying our debts) but we were put there by an aggressive creditor, I do support this rule.

    Many years ago Leicester City got massively into debt (£30m) by building a new stadium and paying big wages in an attempt to get promoted back to the Premier League. They went into administration, paid their creditors a few pence in the pound, and continued as if nothing had happened. This was unfair on the other teams in the league who were living within their means, and very unfair on their creditors (some of whom probably went out of business themselves), so the 10 point deduction was introduced to prevent clubs doing the same again.

    Unfortunately it is a blanket rule, with no possibility of not imposing it in mitigating circumstances. It’s just a shame that the Premier League are doing everything they can to try to help Portsmouth avoid it, when their debts are so much higher (and less likely to be paid) than Palace’s are

  3. February 23, 2010 8:59 pm

    A sad end to a sad story…..

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