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QPR in the dock as season-decider looms

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Matt Slater | 10:02 UK time, Tuesday, 3 May 2011

I have only ever owned one new car. Rattle-free motoring, flawless paintwork and it smelt, ah, the smell...it was factory fresh.

But then I had to give it back. You see I didn't really own it at all. The company that made it owned it and, once it was established I didn't have the money to properly buy it, they wanted it back to sell to somebody else.

It's an arrangement Instituto de Cordoba will recognise. Like me, the Argentine club hired something (in their case a midfielder called Alejandro Faurlin) for two years. They had an option to buy but that was always unlikely.

So Faurlin went back to his real owners and they repeated the transaction with the next wide-eyed punter eager to try a luxury item they couldn't quite afford.

So far, so what? Most South American clubs are skint. They might have decent players but they don't own them. Hiring in talent is the norm and there is nothing unusual about a midfielder being owned by a "third party", be they a group of agents, a bank or even a supermarket.

But what if the next punter in the chain was not South American but from South Africa Road? Could an English club "buy" a player but still allow a third party to "own" him? Aren't there rules against that kind of thing?

QPR were promoted at the weekend but face an anxious week as the FA rule on the Alejandro Faurlin (left) case

QPR were promoted at the weekend but face an anxious week as the FA rule on the Alejandro Faurlin (left) case


The answers to those questions - and a few more - should be revealed on Friday as this week witnesses the culmination of a thrilling Championship campaign.

Sadly, the action will take place behind the closed doors of an office somewhere in London and the stars will be m'learned friends from the Football Association and Queens Park Rangers, the wide-eyed punter in question.

What will happen over three days of evidence-giving, cross-examining and justice-weighing is almost anybody's guess and anybody who tells you otherwise doesn't really understand what is going on.

Cards on table time. In recent weeks, I too have had a conversation with an FA source that has gone in broadly the same direction as the one reported by The Sun last Friday.

In case you missed it, this is the conversation that implied QPR were guilty of breaching FA rules and risked losing 15 points from their table-topping total. This would deprive Rangers of silverware and any return to the Premier League would have to be via the treacherous paths of the play-offs.

The article provoked fury from the club, with manager Neil Warnock in vintage "us against them" form, and a rapid retraction from Wembley. This was hardly surprising given what is at stake, a place at the Premier League's roulette wheel, where even the most incompetent gambler has guaranteed TV revenues of £90m to play with.

Rich guys - and QPR's owners Lakshmi Mittal, Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore are very rich, Mittal in particular - routinely play for high stakes and they do not get rich by losing. The FA needs a legal row with these people like it needs another hole in the ground, hence my hesitation to publish any prediction for the big FA v QPR clash. But there was another reason for my caution: this is uncharted territory.

There is a temptation to draw close comparisons with the Carlos Tevez saga of 2007 when a Tevez-inspired West Ham narrowly avoided relegation from the Premier League, sending Sheffield United down instead. The temptation should be avoided because Tevez provides parallels not precedents.

Four years ago, the striker's "economic rights" belonged to Media Sports Investment, a company controlled by football agent Kia Joorabchian. This arrangement might have made sense back home for Tevez (and fellow hire-purchase Hammer Javier Mascherano) but it did not sit well with the Premier League or Sheffield United. Especially, United.

Now is not the time to recount the details of everything that happened but it is important to get an important fact straight. Third-party ownership was not explicitly banned at the time of the duo's arrival, or even when Tevez embarked on his one-man rescue act at the end of the season.

What West Ham were adjudged to have done wrong was enter into a contract with a another party that could "materially influence" them. With no third-party ban in the handbook, rule U18 was the best the Premier League could come up with - that and a second charge of failing to act in "good faith" when the Hammers did not disclose the true nature of their sensational transfer scoop.

Having decided to plead guilty, the club paid a high price for these mistakes (a £5.5m fine and compensation payments to Sheffield United that are still costing £4m a year) but kept their points.

That decision was reached for two main reasons: one, the season was coming to a climax, making any points deduction almost fatal; and two, league bosses were terrified of provoking legal action that could drag on for years, causing chaos throughout football.

As it happened, they nearly got the latter, which concentrated minds to get U18 overwritten with L34 and L35, specific Premier League rules banning third-party ownership.

Subsequent potential "Tevezs", such as Manchester City's purchase of Jo, have been avoided and it seemed English football had found a framework to cope with the influx of third party-owned South American talent.

Until two months ago, that is, when QPR were hit with seven breaches of FA rules, four relating to the corresponding bits of the governing body's rulebook on third-party ownership, two for false documentation and a final charge for using an unauthorised agent to broker the deal that brought Faurlin to west London in July 2009.

It is the precise details of that deal, and what QPR said at the time, that will be dissected by the four-man disciplinary panel this week. It will not be easy.

Faurlin's journey from promising playmaker in Cordoba to the conductor of Warnock's wonderful Rangers ensemble has been shrouded in mystery ever since Instituto admitted they did not have the $1m (£601,000) his owners, three Argentine agents, wanted for a permanent deal.

Two months later he was being announced as QPR's record signing in a deal "worth" £3.5m. A huge sum for a player from Argentina's second tier, especially when the "selling" club got nothing.

Faurlin's price tag would probably have gone unquestioned if the Football League was not forced to replicate the entire Premier League rulebook last summer in return for more of the top flight's TV cash. This belatedly brought the rules of the two leagues and the FA into line.

It was at this point QPR asked the Football League for permission to buy out Faurlin's Argentine owners and make an honest man of him, so to speak.

The Football League said "OK, but you'll have to run it by the FA", and the FA said "hold on, this isn't what you told us when we waived through the first deal".

Or maybe not and this is just an massive misunderstanding/minor paperwork error.

What we can say is that the FA eventually allowed QPR to "re-sign" the by-now crowd favourite and put him on a four-year contract. But it also started an investigation into the original transfer that has culminated in these charges.

We must also state clearly that QPR deny all "intentional wrongdoing" and have not followed West Ham's lead by pleading guilty to anything. They intend to fight.

The stage, therefore, is set for the Championship decider.

On the one side you have a determination to show the rules have teeth, guard against countersuits from promotion-chasing rivals and rectify the nagging feeling that maybe, just maybe, West Ham got away with it.

And on the other, you have a real fear of legal repercussions from QPR's billionaire owners, sympathy for players who have achieved something truly special and a nagging feeling that these sanctions hurt the fans most of all.

So I'm not making any predictions about this week's result. I will merely note that QPR's healthy points tally makes a compromise between those two positions entirely possible. Now there's a stroke of luck.

As well as my blogs, you can follow me when I'm out and about at http://twitter.com/bbc_matt

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    This is going to sound odd coming from a Norwich City fan but I really hope QPR are not deducted points. I would not want to win the league knowing that QPR are, and have been all season, the best side in the division. What we achieved is momentous enough, that would be cheapened by being handed the division.

    The league was won on the pitch, the table doesn't lie, let QPR keep it.

  • Comment number 2.

    I imagine qpr will be docked enough points to lose the title of championship winners, but not enough to end up in the play-offs(6-8). ie smacked wrists, but no long legal battles etc.

  • Comment number 3.

    I predict a 5 or 7 point deduction and a fine.....still up as champions....

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm all for fairness in sport (not that any will ever occur because of the amount of cheats on the pitch), and if we are found guilty, so be it, our promotion ruined. However, my argument is a simple one - how can you dock points for a player we signed TWO seasons ago? Fair enough, if we had signed him this summer, this ruling would be much simpler, but if you docked us 10 points for each season we've had Faurlin, we'd be both relegated and in the playoffs! If documents were found to say Frank Lampard's transfer to Chelsea a decade ago (I'm just using this as a simple example, I have nothing against this transfer or Chelsea as a football club) was a bit suspect, would Chelsea be docked 10 points for every season they've had Lampard?

  • Comment number 5.

    Promotion and relegation matters should be decided by the players on the pitch, not men in suits behind closed doors. My club were hit with a fine and ultimately had to compensate Sheffield United when Tevez kept us up a few years ago now, it is ironic that Warnock's QPR may be guilty of the same misdemeanour that cost his Sheffield United their PL status. If QPR have committed any offense I hope that they too are fined, rather than docked points as that cheapens the rest of their devision.

  • Comment number 6.

    If the West Ham precedent is followed, then it'll be a huge fine which the owners can easily afford. One day, this issue of ownership will end up being tested in the European Court, found to be ok and it'll become widespread. Bosman gave players a freedom of contract, freedom of ownership rights will surely follow.

    QPR deserve their shot at the Premier League. They'll need a clear out of players though to survive more than one season. Are players like Clint Hill, Tommy Smith and Shaun Derry really up to it at the highest level? Really?

  • Comment number 7.

    The question is why has it taken 2 years to sort this out? In the same way my club Luton was battered with a points deduction for things that happened a good 2/3 years earlier.
    Qpr have won the league fair and square,deduct them 3 points and a heavy fine would be enough.

  • Comment number 8.

    Rules are rules, but you can't dock points after winning the league. If the case has taken up until now then that is the faults of all the bodies involved and not the players. Docking points should take place earlier on so that the club know what they are up against. It is now only right to either dock them points in the Premiership or give them a very large fine in the millions. I'm not a QPR fine by the way.

  • Comment number 9.

    When they announced their charges the FA said they would deal with this swiftly to avoid chaos and confusion at the business end of the season. QPR deserve their place in the top flight. The FA is an embarassment and deserves to be put out to pasture - it makes English football a laughing stock.

  • Comment number 10.

    I find the whole timing of this more than a bit fishy - why has this taken 7 months to get to a hearing - surely even the FA can work faster than that?

    What money on a 5 point deduction (plus a large fine) that leaves QPR needing to better Norwich's result to remain Champions - oh and the now critical game live on the BBC ...............

  • Comment number 11.

    i agree, it is far too late to dock points at the end of the season. The said matter should have been dealt with in the space of the last two years.
    What is the point/effectiveness of dealing with this matter now?
    If the FA deal with every problem of this nature with such delay, nothing will ever be resolved accordingly.
    Lets all praise QPR for their success (not all down to the player in question) & performance this season, that has earned them top spot. They should not be punished in a way that hinders their position or crown as champions. They should be given a large fine instead and let to play the in the premier league!
    I think they will be fantastic in the premier league and will provide is with entertainment only the likes of Blackpool could offer last season (who i sadly think will go down!)

    KTBFFH!

  • Comment number 12.

    what chance the FA announce a 17 points deduction at half time in the QPR Leeds game (meaning a Leeds win would get them into the play offs)? Let's face it, given the time it's taken the FA to get to this point that would just stretch the farce that little bit more.
    I can't see anything other than a slap on the wrists point deduction / fine, leaving QPR as promoted but not champions. They've left it too late to change the promotion.

  • Comment number 13.

    In my opinion it doesn't matter when or how QPR have broken the rules, if they have and it is prooved then they must be punished an appropriate amount. People shouldn't be saying make it 5-7 points so they still get promoted but not as champions, if the rules are set then so will the punishment. If it means that QPR get a 15 point penalty then so be it, forget about how rich the owners are if the FA follow their own rules and punishment then no amount of money or appeals could overide their decision. Whatever punishment is in the rule book must be applied, the punishment must not be what involves the least hassle.

  • Comment number 14.

    QPR should have thought about it before they signed Faurlin!

    Same thing for West Ham when they signed Tevez & Mascherano!

  • Comment number 15.

    It will be a joke to dock QPR enough points to stop them promoted. They won enough football games in order to be the champion!! Heavy fine seems more fair, and if docking points are unavoidable, let dock them points next season (at the start)!!

  • Comment number 16.

    The whole matter stinks from top to bottom; should have been dealt with ages ago. I hope QPR's directors take the FA to court if they lose this. To deduct points now at the end of the season is conspiratorial and wrong.

  • Comment number 17.

    A massive can of worms, but why should the punishment only be applied this season, when they've had the player illegally registered for longer than that?

    The player in question scored one goal last season, an equaliser against my team Sheffield Wednesday - thus denying us of 2 points with which we may not have been relegated (as the table stands we'd have gone down on goal difference with those 2 points, but with the addition of those points this would have affected us tactically in the closing games i.e. we could have played for draws instead of having to go all out for the wins and losing points by getting caught on the break!). If our beloved neighbours were happy to bleat about fairness in football and wear West Ham down with legal threats to the tune of £20m in blood money, why should we not also be compensated?!

  • Comment number 18.

    Actually, QPR are contesting the charges, and feel they've done nothing wrong. While that may be hard to swallow where Paladini and Briatiore are concerned, the club is innocent until proven guilty. Maybe there will be no sanctions?

  • Comment number 19.

    Orchard919, the problem is that there is no set punishment it seems.

    And also that whilst this was outlawed in the PL it was still permissible in the rest of the League. When the football league changed their rules, we asked to buy him out so as to be "within the rules". This was when the FA decided to charge us.

    Obviously I am a QPR fan it goes without saying...

    I also think it's ridiculous to have left it this long. Someone else used the word conspiratorial and that sounds about right to me.

  • Comment number 20.

    14. At 12:47pm 3rd May 2011, 1CarlosTevez wrote:
    QPR should have thought about it before they signed Faurlin!


    As the article above points out, at the time QPR signed Faurlin there was no rule in place governing the Championship wrt third party ownership, so the signing isn't the issue here

  • Comment number 21.

    I'm a Forest fan, but I completely agree that QPR have easily been the best team in the league this season and should not be docked more than 5 or 6 points for this. Also, the FA are at fault for letting it drag on, they should have dealt with this matter when it first came to light, not now at the end of the season. It's not fair on the fans.

  • Comment number 22.

    Thanks Matt, easily the most reasoned, unbiased and detailed account I have read so far about what looms this week. As a diehard R, there is no point throwing my tuppence into the hat about what I want/expect to happen here, but my only comment is, are the FA going to consider the fact that the vast majority of alleged wrongdoing happened in summer 2009, with different players, a different coach and even different distribution of power on the board? Would they punish the 2010/11 cast, when the only true offender still in place is Chairman Gianni Paladini, who could walk away from the club after a points deduction and shrug the affair off much more easily than any of the fans or staff? Just a thought.

  • Comment number 23.

    QPR will be 6th in the table at the end of the season after the points deduction.

  • Comment number 24.

    IF found guilty they deserved to be docked points. Simple as. Imagine if this happened to say Millwall or Burnley who have no promotion/relegation to play for on Saturday. They would be deducted 15 points and would put them down to 52, so they would finish around 18th/19th. Would there still be an uproar?

    Just because QPR have won the league it doesn't mean they haven't broken the rules so deserve to be punished regardless of where they are in the league. As a Norwich fan I don't want the title be default as QPR have been the best side, but they haven't played fair.

    However, they may be found innocent and we're all worrying about nothing!"!!

  • Comment number 25.

    And yes, have to agree with everybody on why it has taken so long for the case to be heard. Its a joke.

  • Comment number 26.

    If you have a rule book why not have the penalty in the rule book as well? Then where you are in the table at the time you are judged would not matter. You would just get the regulation penalty. This type of thing already applies for teams going into administration, so it can work.

  • Comment number 27.

    The blog starts by saying that the third party rule allows clubs to get players they can't afford. Isn't this exactly what Cardiff have achieved through the loan of Bellamy with Man City still paying most of his wages? This is even more relevant given that the Welsh FA have no rules on third party ownership, so they could benefit through a rule that doesn't apply to them.

  • Comment number 28.

    As a Port Vale fan with no axe to grind except the one that'll be used to execute Bill Bratt, I have no idea what will happen but here's what I think should happen:

    1. If QPR are deducted points it should be effective from the start of next season.
    2. Mittal, Ecclestone and Briatore should all be fined £1m each.
    3. "The Sun" "newspaper" should be fined £100bn.
    4. Before the actual verdict's released, someone should ring Warnock pretending to be "the FA" & tell him £30m fine & 27 points deduction, just to hear his reaction....

  • Comment number 29.

    great blog and helped me understand what is going on. I don't think the issue is the 3rd party ownership as they aquirred Faulin before th U18 rule.
    The issue is payments to an 'agent' and lying to the FA. Remember Luton got a 10 point deduction for the 1st offence, so if there is an audit trail for this payment QPR are in the playoffs...it's a shame boardroom activities COULD ruin there achievement on the field.

  • Comment number 30.

    My money's on a 9-point deduction. Puts QPR level with Cardiff with superior goal difference ~ thereby leaving their destiny in their own hands.

    If QPR fail to win, Cardiff only have to better their result to get promoted. If they don't the FA can wash their hands and say Cardiff failed to take the opportunity.

    Or is that all a bit too convenient? Agree with other posters it is ridiculous that it has taken this long.

  • Comment number 31.

    Quite simply... QPR should only face a fine.. as did West Ham... and let that be an end to it. Any other decision would put very pungent bad egg on the faces at the FA.

  • Comment number 32.

    If QPR does get docked points and this ends up stopping them being promoted then Neil Warnock must think the FA is agaist him. Let's not forget the decision to only fine West Ham for a similar infrignment ultimately sent Warnock's Sheffield Utd side down and for QPR to recieve a different punishment must seem like double standards to anyone who looks at it!

  • Comment number 33.

    to #28...
    very good idea, especially number 4.
    could you please explain why the sun should be fined £100bn? (not that im disagreeing or anything)

    KTBFFH

  • Comment number 34.

    Why has this taken so long to come out. The transfer was done in 2009 so QPR should have been punished last season. Why delay it until after the season?

    Whatever happens to QPR, heads should roll at the FA. This has happened before with Tevez yet they don't seem to have learned their lesson. AGAIN.

    It seems as though you have to be incompetent these days to have a major role in football.....Platini, Blatter etc

  • Comment number 35.

    I think £100bn was just grabbed out of the air. Any amount large enough to close the paper down would do.

    As to why, I think it may be because they ran an unsubstantiated story, quoting "sources within the FA". Either complete rubbish, in which case why print it, or shows that the FA has pre-judged the case. Which is why the FA denied it straight away.

    And for Hillsborough, and for a host of other reasons too long to go into!

  • Comment number 36.

    @24. You seem to be missing the point. It's not down to the punishment, it's down to the timing of it. If QPR had been deducted 15 points back in August at least they would know what they needed to do to get promotion. As it stands at the moment, they don't know what will happen and it's too late to do anything about it.

    "Congrats on the promotion QPR, but we've decided to deduct sufficient points for you to miss out on the playoffs as well."

  • Comment number 37.

    This massively complicates the whole process - if QPR can prove that someone in the FA has been leaking information before the hearing, they have a really good legal case to suggest that issue has be pre-judged against them before before the actual hearing takes place. That would give them a whole other avenue of appeal rather than just the single appeal they currently have.

    What a silly, silly person in the FA - this will make the whole complicated thing even more complex and probably time-consuming to resolve.

  • Comment number 38.

    Yes & No Mrs. Miggins... Relegation happens on the field, and the Blades were relegated because they lost their last game. West Ham didn't get a points deduction for the start of the following season, so why should QPR?

  • Comment number 39.

    If this is just like the Tevez saga, then QPR will be fined £5million by the FA, which from what it seems, it is like the Tevez saga.

  • Comment number 40.

    @38. Because the QPR & West Ham cases are different - brought by different football authorities (QPR by the FA, West Ham by the Premier League) and under different rules.
    QPR are charged under a whole new set of rules which have never been used before -these are the FA's rules completely forbidding Third-party ownership, brought in to clarify the situation *after* the Tevez saga. West Ham were charged by the Premier League under quite different rules, because at the time Third-party ownership was allowed (in part, at least).

    So quite different cases, this one brought by the governing body which has much greater powers than a competition organiser (which the the Premier League is).

  • Comment number 41.

    If they're found guilty and not given a suitably large points deduction then I for one will happily chuck a tenner towards Luton Town's legal fun when they sue the FA for effectively kicking them out of the league for far less.

    It's all well and good saying that promotion and relegation should be decided on the pitch, but if the players on the pitch are there illegally then they've cheated their way to points haven't they? A fine would mean nothing to QPR, fans, players or owners and as harsh as it is a big points deduction MUST be enforced if they are found guilty of cheating.

    If you're going to punish teams with points deductions for the failure of previous regimes (Leeds etc) or for simple poverty (Bournemouth etc) then you have to be equally harsh (if not more so) on those who deliberately flout the rules despite having enormous wealth.

  • Comment number 42.

    many of you ae missing the other key factors such as payments to a 'non' agent and incorrect paper work, the first offence is a massive issue.

  • Comment number 43.

    What it comes down to is, IF QPR are found guilty, the FA rules say that they should be deducted 3 points for each of the six games that CarlosTevez played THIS season before the issue was brought to light (because these games were won) plus 10 points for the use of an unregistered Agent.

    So the points deduction should be 0 or 18 or 28... any other result would be a cop out.... don't know where the -15 point that people keep quoting has come from.

    As a Leeds fan, the -28 looks nice, but really QPR have done well this year, so it would be a pity if they did get zapped 28.... as indeed, it was wrong for Leeds to get zapped 15 because HMRC had an issue with the FL paying football debts first rather than HMRC, and refused to let us come out of Admin in 2006.

  • Comment number 44.

    Ironically the best outcome for QPR may be a 5 pt deduction. Any more they lose prmotion, any less and Cardiff will try and sue them (a la Sheffield Utd)

  • Comment number 45.

    ...and by the way, I'm a Blades fan. It's been a bad season, but to hear Warnock saying it's the best time and best team he's had is a bit of a sickener, but I've always thought he was a good bloke... so many Congratulations to him.

  • Comment number 46.

    Afternoon all, I'm a bit tied up today but I thought I should jump in for 30 mins to answer some of your questions. Here goes.

    Oliver Jones (4) - I agree, it's a bit complicated. At face value, this is all to do with the timing of those 3rd-party ownership rules coming into force in the FL, ie last summer. That was why QPR flagged up the situation with AF in September and tried to get him on a more traditional contract. This, however, needed FA approval, as it is the clearing house for overseas transfers, and it was at this point that it emerged QPR MAY have been in breach of FA 3rd party rules (which had been on its books since 2008) & a couple of related rules for over a year. What this timeline fails to explain, however, is if this whole investigation is focused on the 2009-10 Ch'ship season or the early months of this one ie the time after the FL caught up with FA/PL rules on 3rd-party ownership. It also makes me wonder about FA jurisdiction on FL matters. Is the governing body pulling rank here? Is it because this was an overseas deal? Or is it because it feels it was lied to and has to act to protect its reputation/integrity? I'm eager for answers.

    Mike et al (7) - On the issue of how long this has taken, I see it like this. Forget the first year. There was either nothing at all wrong with the Faurlin deal (QPR's view) or the FA got duped/missed it (the FA view). So that brings us to last September when QPR informed the FL of the real situation and their intention to rectify it. This brought the FA back and prompted them to start a thorough investigation of the initial deal. I think it has taken nine months to "come to trial" for a few good reasons (and a couple of cynical but understandable ones). The first is that the FA needed all relevant paperwork from Argentina, the club, the Italian agent QPR used, Inter (who may or may not have been compensated by QPR for giving up their right of first refusal on AF), the FL, Fifa and God knows who else. All this would have to be properly translated and scrutinised by lawyers. In meantime, the FA, FL and QPR would have been mindful of the need to protect integrity of this year's Ch'ship, so every step in the process would have been carefully considered against what needed to happen in the league and what might happen "in court". So it was a slow process. But I also think there was very probably a bit of foot-dragging from both sides...the FA can be forgiven for wanting to know exactly how much punishment QPR could %

  • Comment number 47.

    @Alan H - not quite - the principle of deducting points won while an ineligible player was playing is an old one that no longer applies - an appeal against this BY AFC Wimbledon a few years ago established this principle as being unfair and disproportionate. In any case, this is quite different from the case of an ineligible player - its a case of ownership rather than registration or player eligibility.

    And Leeds got "zapped" by the Football League for breaching their financial management rules. This is a case being brought by The FA for a breaching of their ownership rules, so the cases are quite different.

  • Comment number 48.


    Ha! My comment was too long...here's the rest:

    ...the FA can be forgiven for wanting to know exactly how much punishment QPR could "take", and QPR knew any delay in justice would pile pressure on the FA to tread carefully. I also think there are internal QPR factors at play here, namely the unresolved issue of Ecclestone's continuing ownership of the club, how much it's worth, what it could be worth in the PL, how much it could be worth in the PL and in a new stadium and so on and so on. There is an awful lot riding on this decision so I am not at all surprised at the pace of the process.

    conejo (12) - I am absolutely convinced the FA is only too aware of the Leeds United situation and the rather litigious gentleman who may or may not own that club.

    John_S6 (17) - Good question, and for the reasons I listed in my first answer I don't really know the answer at this point. My gut feeling is that the lack of FL rules against 3rd party deals means any transgressions last year were of the minor/more technical nature. I also think it is far too late to be docking points for 2009/10. The ramifications of that would be utter chaos. But who knows? P'haps a penalty could have been imposed for the start of this season?

    2Loftus (18) - Absolutely. The club have been bullish about this from the moment the charges were announced. At most they have suggested there may have been a few clerical errors but certainly nothing that would warrant serious sanctions. I remain very open-minded about the whole affair.

    Slimboyslim (22) - Very good point. And I think those arguments will definitely feature in QPR's defence. The 'ancien regime' excuse is kind of what I was hinting at with my earlier response about the "internal politics". Bhatia determined to stay, Ecclestone ambivalent/dipping toe in water, Mallya in the wings, Briatore...who knows? The GP issue is very interesting given fact that he has been personally charged with one breach of providing false information. I know his staying powers at Loftus Road are legendary but I wonder if this could be the end of his eventful time at the club.

    Right, that's all the time I've got. Thanks for reading and posting comments, particularly None of the Above (28) for making me laugh.

  • Comment number 49.

    Thanks Number 40 - I acknowledge that... but I think the entire FA should be as it always was. Spreading wealth and - in this case - LAWS, equally across all 92 Clubs.

  • Comment number 50.

    As a rival fan I am not the least bothered about QPR being docked points. there is precedent for it and so it is likely to be in the region of ten points. this would leave them in the play-offs but not promoted with one game to go. it would also have less impact on the other clubs as the play-off places are largely decided bar the second automatic promotion spot. As for QPR chances of promotion through the play offs I rate these as very slim indeed. Besides there are two west London clubs in PL already. We don't want a third nor I assume does TFL or the police. So tough !

  • Comment number 51.

    Re port 28. I think you are wrong to fine the s*n £100bn. They should be fined £100bn AND be closed down. Sadly neither will happen. Liars.

    JFT96.

  • Comment number 52.

    Season after season the FA demonstrate that they are not fit to govern our national game. Just ask Sheffield United, Leeds, Luton etc decisions are made on the fly and without any consistency. The rule book should be clear the penalties set so you know if you break the rules you will suffer the same fate whether you are a Manchester United or an Accrington Stanley

  • Comment number 53.

    @49 - Mike
    No arguments with that whatsoever - 130 years of jealousies between the FA & The FL (and latterly the PL) have left us with a real mess of rulebooks, utter confusion on who governs who, and a toothless national governing body - despite them publicising themselves as "Guardians of the Game."

    Having said that, the FA has recently had lots of criticism as being "unfit for purpose" in the DCMS Enquiry into Football Governance, and also has a new chairman eager to make a stand and show what they can do. If I was QPR I'd be very afraid - because now is the perfect time, politically, for the FA to make a public show of strength.

  • Comment number 54.

    the world is against Warnock even if he is a good manager. He seems to attract enemies.

  • Comment number 55.

    there is a certain amount of bias toward QPR a lot of it from the career chasing coffee drinkers from the sun anyway why did the FA not take action when this came to light the timing is suuspicious

  • Comment number 56.

    Excellent article Matt, particularly in explaining the common place model in S.America. Question is why one or more people at the FA are talking about this at all.

    It smacks of kangaroo court when you start talking about the sentence before you have heard and considered the evidence?! Also suggests somebody is making a name for themselves rather than doing what is right for football.

    As for sentence, is a player issue like this worthy of as big a fine or bigger than, say, going into administration? Can't see why it should. The spectre of Paladini's history in the world of agents has long haunted QPR but fans could have assumed that the downside would be nothing more than having to put up with some unfit, under-performing Italian signings. Time will tell, but there are many who think he is the only person who should be held to account if this is malfeasance rather than maladministration.

    I suspect the identity of the 4-man panel will have a bearing e.g. who is the ex-manager going to be?

  • Comment number 57.

    As a life long Luton Town Fan quite frankly any arguments about what happens on the pitch is irrelevant. My team was efffictively relegated from Division one to the conference. Swindon Town were heavily punished in the nineties. Regularly teams are punished with points deductions for fielding a player who has not been properly signed. Why Luton ? Why Swindon ? Why not West Ham ? Why it wont be QPR ? - Money Money Money !!!!!!!!!
    QPR are now owned by millionairres which effectively means their promotion to the premiership will stand. Sure they will get a meaningless points deduction that may mean they end up being second. The truth is I am still angry at the way my club was pulled to one side and made a scape goat.

  • Comment number 58.

    #47... No the rules regarding points deducted is valid now... two Div 4 clubs have been zapped this season - 3 points because they won and 1 point because they didn't in the relevent matches.

    And, yes, Leeds were 'zapped' for breaching the FL financial management rules, but only because HMRC would not let us come out of Admin in the way the FL required - because HMRC wanted to force the FL to stop fovouring the football creditors above the others (ie HMRC). So Leeds were caught in the middle, deducted 15 points, and missed out on premotion by 1 point the following year.

  • Comment number 59.

    the fa have proven there bufoonery maybe it is time they were all booted out and football fans intrested in football and not money were appointed

  • Comment number 60.

    I would hope that if we are found guilty then there would be no points deduction. There is a precedent here and it is the Tevez affair which was slightly different. If we are deducted points then I hope that the QPR lawyers appeal and put in a counter claim for damages, etc. How could the play offs continue if the FA and QPR are still arguing legally.

    This could have been sorted out years ago. Not on the last few days of the season.

  • Comment number 61.

    Rules are rules. If QPR have breached those rules then they should be punished in accordance with the precedents set where they exist (e.g. Luton if they are guilty of that part) - where they don't then new precedents will be created by this case.

    This is clearly not personal to the club or its management -IF QPR are guilty then they knowingly breached the rules and attempted to hide it. It maybe that they are as innocent as they claim - it should be noted that in English law ignorance is not considered a defence so saying we didn't 'knowingly' do any wrong should not excuse any breaches (and you'd argue that if it is found they submitted falsified documents then they clearly did know)

    As for the rich owners then should this go against them they should reserve their ire for the people within the club who perpetrated the crime - the same message needs to be transmitted to the fans. It is not the FA, Football League or Premier Leagues fault if clubs attempt to cheat by breaking the rules.

  • Comment number 62.

    I do feel sorry for Warnock as he has had many bad decissions go against him and his teams..the FA/West Ham debacle, Freddie Sears goal at Palace, administration at Palace, the FA cup game at Arsenal.

    However I hope this has taught him to be less vocal as he certainly had his say when West Ham got fined for a rule that didn't exist.

  • Comment number 63.

    If it is proven that QPR wilfully broke the rules and tried to cover that up by lying to the FA, then they deserve whatever they get. Fines are a slap on the wrist for a club with wealthy financial backers. As for that being unfair on QPR's players, tell that to rival clubs' players who will just miss out on automatic promotion or the play offs as a result of QPR's alleged wrongdoing.

    The FA clearly believes that there has been deliberate obfuscation by QPR, as it probably wouldn't have bothered with more than a fine.

  • Comment number 64.

    I fully agree with various posts that state promotion and relegation should be settled by the players on the pitch. But it is important that those players are eligible to be on the pitch and that their registration complies with regulations. Even in junior football, teams that field players that are not properly registered risk points deductions.

  • Comment number 65.

    @58 If the "points earnt" principle stood, why were Torquay deducted 1 point for a game they lost? The AFC Wimbledon appeal in April 2007 when their 18 point deduction was reduced to 3 points killed this as a precedent - in any case such charges come from the leagues, rather than the Governing body as in this case.

    Regarding Leeds, no argument with the facts you quote, but rules is rules and Leeds (or more specifically Ken Bates) knew exactly what the rules were and didn't meet the appropriate criteria. I have the utmost sympathy for Leeds fans affected by this- but Ken Bates had the chance to meet the criteria and didn't do so.

  • Comment number 66.

    It seems to me that the FA are just incompetent (shock, horror) but also whoever was behind the decision to buy the player was plain ignorant or a bit of a chancer...
    Couldn't care less about the outcome with regard to fines or deductions, just want a cast iron rule set in place. Is that so difficult?

  • Comment number 67.

    People are saying "why should QPR be deducted points for a player purchased two seasons ago?" for me the point is he was signed and the paperwork was filed with lies on it to get it passed. the lies come out and it is only then that the truth can be sought and if indeed QPR have been found to have lied and in breach of the rules then it should be looked at if they were punished then where would they have been and the answer is relegated to league one. so to allow them to be promoted in any way this season even by the playoffs would send a message that you can cheat and lie your way to promotion and get away with it. The Football League, FA and Premier League need to stand firm on this and not be welcoming cheats with open arms as that would be sending a totally wrong message. Luton were docked 10 points for far less than QPR have done, other clubs have been deducted points for each game an illegal player played in. so if you deduct points for each game he played in added to deductions for other charges it is the accumulated effect of the deduction and it should be taken in context of where it would have left QPR last season had they told the truth at the beginning.

  • Comment number 68.

    MATT

    Looks like the usual FA conspiracy.

    It isn't just us at OT who suffer from their bias. If you have also been briefed that they are guilty & Mark Palios comes out in the media today to say they'll almost certainly face a points deduction, I suspect any court would throw a guilty verdict right out the window, because the case has been pre-judged.

    Why? At least two members of the panel hearing this are members of the FA, and any suspicion that this organisation per se has prejudged it will scupper a guilty verdict.

    Bit like having a couple of relatives of the victim on a criminal trial!

    Also, why have the FA allowed Faurlin to play on after September? If he isn't wrongly registered now, he wasn't then, either. So any infractions cannot be applied to the period after that, which is simply most of this season.

    They didn't deduct points from West Ham because it was so late in the season & that may well mean, whoever is delivering the verdict, that this lot will have to confine any sanctions to a fine, because WH are the only precedent for this sort of offence.

  • Comment number 69.

    Firstly this issue should have been resolved months ago, not left to the last weekend of the season.

    Secondly if QPR are found guilty then they should have points deducted. I'm a Hereford fan (yes all the way down at the bottom of League 2), and we lost 3 points when the club reported to the league they had made a mistake with a transfer. Now those 3 points dont sound like much but we were still at risk of relegation up until this weekend. So while I would hate to see QPR not getting promotion when they have played so well, it does have to the same set of rules for all. Be they struggling at the bottom of League 2 or on the verge of joining the Premiership - at the end of the day a points deduction is the one thing that the wealthy owners of top flight clubs cant fix

  • Comment number 70.

    @67 the fact of the matter is that new r ules about 3rd party ownership came in after we signed Faurlin, we told the FA to be in complience about the signing and that's when things started to go belly up.

    There is no presedence for the FA taking disciplinary action in this regard as it has been the football league dispensing justice in the cases you mention.

    It's not as clear cut as you seem to think it is...

  • Comment number 71.

    Part of the problem here is that the rules are so vague and half-hearted. When West ham got punished everyone assumed it was for having a player owned by a third-party, when in reality at the time third-party ownership was legal (as it still is everywhere else outside England), but there was a side agreement that may have allowed a bit of interference from the third party.

    As with the Tevez saga, the media never allow the facts to get in the way of a good story and people will buy into a warped perception of the story and demand a punishment to suit rather than establishing the facts and viewing a punishment according to the facts.

    This blog is a rare instance of a journalist doing his research before writing his article. A good artcile too.

    But still the BBC come out with tripe such as "...Sheffield United went down instead and lodged a legal challenge that ended with the Hammers owing the Premier League £5.5m for breaking the rules ..." The reality of course was that West Ham had already been charged, trialled and punished three games before Sheffield United were relegated, and at the time of punishment, the media and everyone else were demanding a hefty fine rather than points deduction as it was assumed that West Ham were as good as relegated anyway.

    Warnock is the biggest spinner of them all. He barked on about Tevez being ineligible until everyone believed it to be true - it was never the case and West Ham were NEVER charged with fielding an ineligible player.

    After Sheffield United performed the biggest implosion in Premier League history and got themselves relegated in spectacular fashion from a position of apparent safety with a month to go, Warnock then claimed it was Tevez's goal against Man Utd wot did it, when in reality, no Tevez goal would have resulted in a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford, a point for West ham, and still would have relegated the hapless Blades.

    And finally, Warnock resigned from Sheffield United claiming that his mind had been made up days before the last game of the season and that he had explained his "reasons" to McCabe the day before their game against Wigan. Fast-forward two years and he jumped on the "sue West Ham" bandwagon claiming that he lost his job as a Premier League manager after Sheffield United were relegated and demanded personal compensation.

    So Warnock can go cry as much as he likes and I'll take anything he says with a large pinch of salt. And no doubt if they get punished he'll be bleating more drivel to anyone who will listen, and none

  • Comment number 72.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 73.

    QPR are a rich team with money behind them so I'm confident that the FA and Premier League will welcome them with open arms, I suspect the hearing is just a formality.

    Messing up the post-season would be unfair to all the teams involved really, so I'm expecting a token fine and a slap on the wrist.

    A few of the "little" clubs might, quite rightly, have issue with the decision in terms of the precedents set previously, but it's not as if they matter, in the greater scheme of things.

  • Comment number 74.

    OK- I'll try and keep this simple!
    The whole thing is a mess- the FA have had plenty of time to sort this out, but haven't. Why? It sounds about as suspect as the "buried at sea" story we've been sold over the weekend.
    I am a Cardiff fan, and as much as I would LOVE to see my beloved team in the Premiership next season, doing it this way (if it happens) is wrong. It wouldn't feel right and all we would get all season is songs from opposing fans about our "default promotion". QPR are the best team in the division and do deserve to go up. However....plenty of people on here are saying " deduct this many points", or "that many points"- surely you cannot decide how many points to deduct by looking at the table as it stands at the moment? It's no good saying deduct "x" amount and it's okay, they'll still go up. If you've broken the rules, you should have to pay the penalty.
    Whilst I feel sorry for the supporters of QPR if they do actually get deducted points, rules are rules and they're there for a reason. But I don't think it'll happen- you'll get whacked with a hefty fine and that'll be that.

  • Comment number 75.

    Thanks for a measured article Matt. Now I apologise if I am repeating someone else's view, but what particular "mischief" are the FA's rules on 3rd party ownership actually trying to avoid or defeat? It just seems to me that this particular "crime" and the apparent sanctions are just way out of proportion to the effect third party ownership can realistically have on a club, a player or the league. It's not as if Faurlin is an able bodied member of a paralympic team is it? He's just a footballer, playing football. And it's also not as if 3rd parties assisting clubs somehow never legitimately happens - look for instance at Craig Bellamy - surely Man City is influencing Cardiff's season by "helping out" with his wages...

  • Comment number 76.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 77.

    If QPR are found guilty, it is for an offence that does not specifically apply to the 2010-11 season. So why not give them the choice of accepting the points deduction this season or deferring them to next season. Do they fancy the 'lottery of the play-offs' or a -10 points start to the Premier League season?

  • Comment number 78.

    Never wise to make predictions, and even less so where the FA are concerned, for thay are always anything but predictable. (Or even logical, for that matter)

    Whatever action, if any, they decide to take will no doubt be "politically" motivated with a view to limit any fall-out down the line.

    I, for one, certainly believed that West Ham should have had points deducted. Sheffield United were the "winners" in terms of court action, but look where that got them .... going down again.

    Whether there is a points deduction on the 3rd party issue or simply a fine, if the "illegal" payments to "agents" charges are proven, then there is a precedent for a 10-point deduction, which must surely be followed - at least in the "normal" world if not that inhabited by the FA.

    As I said, I will not be drawn into any predictions, but whatever happens QPR will make the play-offs at least. As they have, according to most, been the best team by far - have certainly been the most consistent according to their points total, which can not lie - they should therefor still be promoted, albeit with a bit of "extra effort".

  • Comment number 79.

    As a QPR fan this situation has given me the exact same anxious feeling prior to the Milk Cup final against Oxford Utd in 1986. We were overwhelming favourites to win and the fans were anticipating a high scoring victory...

    ...85 minutes later I was crying my eyes out in front of my Dad at Wembley Park Station having seen the R's get tonked 3 nil. Are the FA/Premier League Oxford Utd in disguise?

  • Comment number 80.

    Whilst this is an excellent blog, and very well written, I think that a few of the posters on here would do well to listen to Simon Jordan on Talksport, this morning.

    The interview is on their front page.

    He seems to think the opposite of The Sun, and talks of writs being served. He knows a little about this case, and much as I'm not a fan of his, he speaks with candour and good sense....At least to these Hooped ears!

    Personally, I'm not convinced that the Independant Enquiry will go for a points deduction, assuming that we ARE found guilty.

    One or two people on here are already acting as Judge, Jury and Executioner....before ALL the facts have come out...but as another poster pointed out....Why let the facts get in the way of a good story?

  • Comment number 81.

    I sincerely hope that QPR are found totally innocent as they have won the Championship this season fair and square.

    But if they are found guilty then I cannot see how they can escape with anything other than a meaningful points deduction. Simply fining clubs at this sort of level is totally meaningless; a fine of, say, £5 million to QPR would simply be small change in comparison to their potential PL monies and the wealth of their backers. It would then give carte blanche to clubs to fiddle the rules in other areas and gain an unfair advantage on those who play by the book.

    And simply coming along with the old "it happened two years ago under the old regime" argument just doesn't wash. We are talking about a possible punishment for QPR as a club and not whoever owned it at the time. Of course, should the worst happen then the current owners might feel someone else should pay.....

  • Comment number 82.

    This article and many of the posters above concentrate too heavily on the issue of 3rd party ownership. QPR are also charged with using or attempting to use an unauthorised agent. A precedent was set here by the ten point deduction handed to Luton for a similar offence and if QPR are found guilty they will surely face the same punishment.

    They have also been charged with falsifying documentation handed to the FA in relation to the Faurlin transfer. What punishment might be handed out for this offence can only be imagined but the FA might well wish to set a heavy precedent here too.

    Along with any punishment for breach of 3rd party ownership rules QPR could be looking at a record breaking deduction. Personally I expect 10-15 points.

    However, QPR have only been charged and are innocent until proven guilty and may still end the season as rightful champions. We shall see...

  • Comment number 83.

    @71

    Warnock is renowned for coming out with whatever suits his circumstances at the time. He wanted West Ham to be deducted points (after he'd been relegated of course), and not just a couple of points either, but an amount of points that would have seen West Ham relegated.

    Yet you mark my words, if QPR lose points over this he'll be stamping his feet and saying that it's just not fair.

  • Comment number 84.

    @70. Interesting point, but totally irrelevant- the rules are clear on 3rd party ownership and the QPR situation is against the rules. The Bellamy situation is within the rules.
    Whatever happens here, a precedent will be set and the punishment (if QPR are found guilty) will be used as a benchmark in future cases. So therefore, it needs to be sufficient to stop very wealthy clubs from breaking the rules in the future.
    Fines are no deterrent to the Manchester City's, Chelsea's and QPR's of this world.
    A sizeable points deduction is the only way to hurt these clubs.

  • Comment number 85.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 86.

    If third party ownership was not against the FL rules during 2009 (when Faurlin was signed) then how can rules introduced for the 2010-11 season be used by the FA? How can any club know what rules might be introduced for future seasons?

    Also, I understood that the agent in question is now an FA & FIFA approved agent. So is his potential involvement really serious enough to warrant anything other than a fine?

    Would the FA have blocked the transfer of Faurlin, had all the the facts been disclosed? I doubt it, as several other players have been given permission to play from Argentina.

    We had our own problems with directors at Derby, so good luck to QPR!

  • Comment number 87.

    I am amazed at the general attitude of certain supporters.
    If QPR have done wrong and the question is if for none of us really know and will not even after the hearing for the independant board seems a little wieghed in the FA favour. I amke the above comment purely based on the assumption that everyone seems to have found the Club guilty prior to the Hearing and are talking nothing but the penalty the Club will receive. If found not guilty then we will have the there yiou go brigade saying it was a fix because of how much money the owners have. What about the supporters!! they have done nothing except pay throughout the season to su[pport their team. Surely they are innocent. Should not the punishment be against the persons or person who created the situation not the supporters. When are the FA going to realise without the support of the general public throughout the land they control nothing. Make the guilty pay but do not punish the innocent this has happenned to often in Football.

  • Comment number 88.

    Im sure the FA would much rather this issue didnt exist. It is unlikely the FA would go throught this procedure without very strong evidence. I think the question for the independant panel is not likely to be 'are QPR guilty' but 'How guilty are QPR and what punishment fits the crime'.

    I suspect most QPR fans expect some punishment but are just praying for leniency.

  • Comment number 89.

    Just feel like there's a few things I need to point out here;

    1. Why does it matter what end of the season it happens? Docked points are docked points. The reason that this is being looked into is in part down to falsified documentation. Improper submissions of information as well. These are the reasons that this is being so thoroughly looked into and dealt with.

    2. I have no idea why it's taken the FA so long to get round to it. Leaving it until the end of the season is harsh to say the least.

    3. I'm a Cardiff fan, we don't deserve to go up because someone gets docked points at the end of the season and although it would be amazing to finally go up to the prem, it would be very tainted.

  • Comment number 90.

    Sorry Matt I can't understand why the Football League would allow the FA the power to deduct points. The FA abused the FL badly enough in setting up the Premier League in the first place, now they seem to have the right to intervene at will in the FL's arrangements. If QPR (and others before them) broke the FA's rules, then the FA should be entitled to fine them, subject of course to the club's right to appeal through the courts if the fines are arbitrary or unreasonable, but the points system is surely a matter for the FL and not the FA. The FL should toughen up and confront the FA, whose aggressive stance is based on bluff at the end of the day. Their threats are presumably that they could either cut off the flow of money from the PL, throw clubs out of the cup, or throw them out of the FA altogether. With enough spine from the 72 clubs they could not deliver on any of these threats.
    As for leaking their potential sanction to the press, it shows that the FA has not gained any competence or integrity since the management was taking turns chasing after the secretaries. What a rotten organisation!

  • Comment number 91.

    Amazingly no one has commented that the original transfer was done at the chairmanship of one Flavio Briattore? How many sports can this man be banned from........

  • Comment number 92.

    If a points deduction is the verdict, I think TEN would be (a) proportionate, and (b) BRILLIANT! Look at the table. That would set up the final round of matches then next day to be massive.

  • Comment number 93.

    The FA are not fit for purpose. How can they have been so slow in handling this situation. And to have a hearing in the week before the end of the season just makes no sense, weird. Docking points always hurts the fans and taints the integrity of the league.

    The FA or Football League should have checks and balances in place that simply stop Clubs from breaking rules so they are to blame imo - that is what we do in business, cross check that everything is in order, we trust no-one.

    Fingers crossed for QPR - they have won the league on merit and are the best Championship team.

  • Comment number 94.

    @92
    i really dont think that your idea is very clever? you can't just deduct a team a certain amount of points because you want to make the last round of matches interesting?
    I'm a cardiff city supporter and i believe that it wouldnt be right for us to be promoted to the premier league because we haven't done it on merit.
    QPR to get a hefty fine and maybe a minor points deduction.

  • Comment number 95.

    @75
    The problem with third party ownership is incentives to fix matches. Imagine a game at the end of the season between a team with a chance at the title, and a team in the middle. You can't much trust the team in the middle to put in a good performance anyway, but what if their players were owned by the same people that owned the players of the title chasers? What if one of those players gets sent off? Did he do it deliberately because his owners stood to gain much more by the opposition winning? The FA, quite rightly IMO, wants to avoid this sort of conflict of interest ever having a chance to happen, so they have rules against the things that could lead to it.

  • Comment number 96.

    I've made points on Paul Fletcher's blog about other club's suing and about the punishment needing to be incredibly harsh if guilty, since football needs cleaning up.

    My point today is how tired I get reading about QPR winning the league "fair and square". How on earth would it be fair and square IF GUILTY? Nobody knows how much the loss of this one player would have affected results, this is a very tight division. Whatever points deduction the panel decide, if fairly and equitably arrived at based on current laws and precedent, should be accepted.

    Perhaps my club the Clarets (who rightly stay down due to the idiotic decision to give Brian Laws a 3yr contract, loads of money to spend on new average players and new long contracts for old average players, then delay sacking him until too late in this campaign)......[breathe].....yes, perhaps my club the Clarets should "borrow" Christiano Ronaldo and then let people claim that one player can't make a team successful? I'm sure he wouldn't mind coming just to help me prove my point......and I'm sure we wouldn't still be mid table.

  • Comment number 97.

    What I don't understand is why the FA had to wait so long to make a ruling (having known about it all season) and then put themselves and QPR in this unenviable position!! Fine, rules were breached, but (as we have come to know from the FA), the ruling is to be taken at a time when any decision that is made will not put them in any positive light...dock QPR enough points to put them in the play-off positions and they have a large legal battle (we're talking about more than £60m here), give them a slap on the wrist and the FA shall have other clubs (Sheffield United, West Ham etc) screaming murder. ANything in between is as good as the latter scenario.


    The FA should seriously consider not leaving everything to fester...it only leads to disaster!!

  • Comment number 98.

    If found guilty then I'd let them pick their penatly from one of 2 options;

    a) 15 point penatly, meaning they go for promotion via the playoffs.
    b) A £15m fine (to the FA) then a £90m fine (or whatever amount would be paid to them in TV revenues by virtue of being in the prem) to be given to the current championship sides, who are in effect the 'victims' of any wrongdoing.

  • Comment number 99.

    @96 "...Nobody knows how much the loss of this one player would have affected results..."

    Wrong.

    Lord Griffiths has a crystal ball and can predict precisely what would have/could have/should have happened under different circumstances.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1162842/MARTIN-SAMUEL-Part-II-Relegation-Lawyers-4U-winners-Tevez-ruling.html

  • Comment number 100.

    QPR will be docked 20 points. The FA should not and will not tolerate any Club whatsoever to benefit from breaking the rules that are in place. Therefore they will not only forfeit Automatic Promotion, but they will also miss out on the Playoffs too.

 

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