Town's formal bid to change system

IPSWICH Town have launched a formal bid to have the multi-ball system scrapped in the Championship after it led to manager Jim Magilton's third FA carpeting.

Derek Davis

IPSWICH Town have launched a formal bid to have the multi-ball system scrapped in the Championship after it led to manager Jim Magilton's third FA carpeting.

Magilton takes charge of his 99th competitive game as Town manager on Sunday, but will reach his ton knowing he will be walking a disciplinary tightrope at the beginning of next season.

The Blues boss was spared a touchline ban and instead handed a season-long suspended two-match ban and fined, after pleading guilty to a misconduct charge at a FA hearing in London.


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Magilton put forward his mitigation at a personal hearing after being sent to the stands by Cheshire official Mike Jones during Town's 1-0 loss at Stoke City in February after swearing at the official.

Magilton had been expecting a ban but the panel accepted his frustration had been caused by the multi-ball system but told him he now has to keep his nose clean until May 2009 or the two-match ban will be implemented, along with any other punishment.

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Now Town have put forward a case to have the system scrapped and it will be voted on at the next Football League AGM, due to be held in June.

Magilton said: “I'm totally against the multi-ball. It is an unfair system and works against the visiting team. We like to play quick ball but the multi-ball often leads to frustration.”

The Town boss usually sits in the directors' box for the first half of Town's games and comes down at half-time and is expected to do the same when Town face Hull City on Sunday looking for a place in the play-offs.

Meanwhile, Tigers chairman Paul Duffen has his side to be playing Premier League football next season - regardless of events in this weekend's promotion finale.

He said: “I remain very confident that we are going to be in the Premier League next season.

"Obviously I can't predict that it's going to happen on Sunday because I have no control over how Leicester perform against Stoke.

"Therefore, I expect us to have to go up through the play-offs and win at Wembley, but don't write off Monday for a big hangover.

"We'll know that the opportunity is there to go up this weekend and I've got every confidence that we'll go to Ipswich and do everything we can.

"Regardless of which route it is, I'm confident that we'll begin next season in the Premier League."

A near sell-out crowd of around 28,000 is expected at Portman Road, including a sell-out away allocation of 2,100, for what has been billed as City's biggest ever fixture.

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