Southampton relegation could aid City
PUBLISHED: 17:26 23 April 2009 | UPDATED: 09:08 06 July 2010
Norwich could be the beneficiaries after Southampton were relegated from the Championship. Saints paid the penalty for their attempts to break through a legal loophole when the Football League imposed a 10-point penalty under their administration rules.
Norwich could be the beneficiaries after Southampton were relegated from the Championship.
Saints paid the penalty for their attempts to break through a legal loophole when the Football League imposed a 10-point penalty under their administration rules.
The deduction will take effect this season should Southampton avoid relegation - but if they go down anyway they will start life in League One 10 points adrift.
And that's where City could benefit: Southampton have the perfect incentive to begin next season in League One with a clean slate, and that means going all out in their final two games to move clear of the drop zone and lose the points as a Championship side.
Saints are at home to Burnley this weekend, but it's their final game in the Championship, against Nottingham Forest in nine days time, which is significant.
Forest are just three points ahead of City, who occupy the third and now remaining relegation place, with Charlton already relegated. But if results go City's way over the next three days, then Forest may be struggling - and they would potentially face a Southampton side doomed to relegation but with plenty to fight for.
The decision to deduct the points was made following the completion of a Football League investigation by “independent forensic accountants” after the club's parent company, Southampton Leisure Holdings plc went into administration at the beginning of April.
Because it was their parent company, Saints believed they could avoid punishment, but the inquiry found that the club and the holding company were “inextricably linked as one economic entity” and applied their mandatory penalty.
The Board of the Football League made the decision yesterday but Canaries chief executive Neil Doncaster did not vote.
“As one of the three Championship clubs representatives on the Football League board I along with the others seven directors discussed the Southampton situation at length,” he said. “I declared an interest as is proper to do so and did not vote on the Southampton question.”
A statement by the League said: “The holding company has no income of its own; all revenue and expenditure is derived from the operation of Southampton football club and the associated stadium company.
“The holding company is solvent in its own right. It only becomes insolvent when account is taken of the position of Southampton football club and the other group companies.
A statement added that there was no alternative other than to invoke the 10-point penalty.
It was also revealed that the company commissioned to look into the matter reported that co-operation with them was withdrawn towards the end of their enquiries.