Sheepshanks welcomes new penalties

IPSWICH Town chairman David Sheepshanks has welcomed new rules which would penalise clubs up to 10 points if they went into administrationm.

IPSWICH Town chairman David Sheepshanks has welcomed new rules which would penalise clubs up to 10 points if they went into administrationm writes Derek Davis.

The Blues supremo had fought for amendments to the original proposals and an appeal process was written into the new rules, ratified at a Football League emergency general meeting at Oxford's Kassam Stadium yesterday.

The league also agreed that chairmen from all member clubs publish total spending by individual clubs on player agents every six months. Also agreed were the introduction of parachute payments for clubs relegated from the First and Second Divisions, funded by the clubs promoted from those divisions.

And the ratification of a new League structure means the First Division should have its own managing director by Christmas.

The League will also conduct a survey on its image and look to rebrand the Football League and push its qualities, such as value for money and its community standing.

But proposals to extend the play-offs in each division, put forward in June by Crystal Palace, are now off the agenda completely.

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Sheepshanks last night said: "This is a very positive day for the Football League and I'm very pleased the league board backed the modernisation plans.

"I was very cautious about supporting the original plans as it was a 'one glove fits all' situation which I felt was grossly unjust.

"But now there is an appeals process in place which takes into account massive damaging factors, such as the collapse of the transfer market, the collapse of ITV Digital and the loss of money which had already been budgeted and the arrival of a transfer window, all of which affected Ipswich Town badly."

The call for a points reduction came when many people were left unhappy at the way Leicester City wrote off massive debts but re-established themselves as a Premiership club with seemingly little difficulty.

Ipswich Town took a different route and went into voluntary administration, which allowed them to work out a way of paying creditors.

If the current criteria were to be applied to those situations it would be likely that City would be docked the full 10 points while Town would escape with one, or possibly even no points deducted.

After the 10-point penalty is imposed, clubs will then only be permitted to remain in receivership for a maximum period of 18 months before they are thrown out of the League.

The penalties will only come into effect for clubs who go into administration from the start of the 2004/05 season, so the likes of Notts County and Wimbledon still have breathing space.

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