Chairmen to agree points deductions

Premier League chairmen are expected to agree a deduction of up to nine points later this month for any top-flight club which goes into administration – but the rule change will not take effect until next season.

The 20 chairmen meet on January 29 to vote on the issue – and although a points-deduction sanction is likely, it would not affect crisis club Leeds should they call in administrators this month.

Premier League director of legal services Simon Johnson is already preparing the groundwork for the rule change. But it is expected that a degree of flexibility will be included in any sanction.

From next season the Football League will have a 10-point deduction in place - but there are opportunities for appeals against the punishment.

But a Premier League source confirmed: “Any proposed rule change would not come into effect until next season.”

A leading club chairman told the Press Association that many figures at Premiership clubs feel a deterrent is needed but that there should also be grounds for leniency.

He said: “If there is a genuine and unavoidable reason – for example, another club in Europe has not paid them money they are owed – then it would seem unfair to treat them in the same way as a club which has just spent money without regard for the consequences.

“The situation with Leeds is not black and white either. The people now running the club have, by and large, come in to be faced with a big, black financial hole that was not of their making.

“Most chairmen believe that the rules should include some sort of sanction for clubs that go into administration, but the debate will be about what the punishment should be.”

Leeds are not entirely in the clear in terms of disciplinary action if they fail to strike a new deal with creditors by January 19, because the Premier League say they already have powers to take action.

The source added: “We don’t have a hard-and-fast policy in terms of a member club entering administration, but our rule book does give us a range of options to deal with that eventuality.

“If a club started insolvency procedures they’d inform us of their situation. When we knew the extent of the problem and had seen an exit strategy we’d make a decision how to proceed on a case-by-case basis.”

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