SOUTHAMPTON remain confident of avoiding a 10-point penalty after the Football League called for an independent report into the club’s financial position.
The League met yesterday to discuss whether Saints should be punished after their parent company, Southampton Leisure Holdings, called in the administrators last week.
Saints believe they should avoid the penalty which has been dished out to other teams who have fallen into administration – such as Leeds, Darlington, Bournemouth and Luton – because the club itself is not in that position.
A statement from the League read: “The League Board has instructed its legal advisors to commission an independent forensic accountancy report in order to clarify the legal and financial position of the club, as a matter of urgency.
“The Board will reconvene once that report is available.”
And in response, joint-administrator Mark Fry said: “Subject to the scope of the report we welcome the Football League’s initiative in commissioning an independent report into the legal and financial position of the club ahead of any decision being made on the possibility of a 10-point deduction.
“In our view this indicates the situation will be reviewed thoroughly and independently ahead of any decision made. We are confident of a successful outcome because in our view no rules have been breached.”
Meanwhile an investigation into a betting scandal has led to charges against four players for staking thousands of pounds on their own team to lose.
A fifth player has also been charged by the FA for breaching betting rules over the same game – Accrington Stanley v Bury in Coca-Cola League Two in May last year.
The FA have not brought match-fixing charges – such accusations are extremely difficult to prove – but the players could face lengthy suspensions and perhaps even life bans if they are found guilty.
The four players then at Accrington Stanley were Jay Harris, David Mannix, Robert Williams and skipper Peter Cavanagh. Andrew Mangan, who was at Bury, has been charged with betting on a victory for his own team which is also against FA rules.
Both Harris and Cavanagh played in the game which ended 2-0 to Bury.
An FA statement said: “All five are alleged to have placed bets on Bury to win this match. Mannix is alleged to have placed stakes to the value of approximately £4,000; Mangan £3,500; Harris £2,000; Williams £1,000; and Cavanagh on a £5 accumulator.”
The FA were alerted after bookies in the north-west reported unusual betting patterns in the lead-up to the match.
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