Despite the efforts of the teams on the pitch over the 46 game Npower Football League season, the fate of some clubs could rest in the hands of the game’s administrators, as the football authorities have to deal with off the pitch issues.
The forthcoming weeks could have serious ramifications for two Championship clubs striving for promotion to the Premier League, as Queens Park Rangers and Leeds United who face each other on the final day of the season, may see their dreams of Premier League football taken away for issues not relating to their ability on the pitch.
Yesterday saw two clubs from League Two docked points for administrative errors relating to moves which went through on the final day of the January transfer window. Torquay United and Hereford United were deducted three points and one point respectively as they failed to register players in time for their clash on the 1st February.
Hereford, who won the game 3-1 have lost the three points they earned as Rob Purdie, who was signed on a free from Oldham Athletic, was not registered until 2.30 pm, with the deadline being Noon on the 31st January. Torquay were deducted a point with their signing of Jake Robinson on loan from Shrewsbury not being completed until 10pm.
The decision has left Hereford just five points clear of the relegation spots, and was greeted with dismay by the Bulls chairman, David Keyte. He told BBC
Torquay remain in 7th place and still in the last play-off spot, but the gap to Gillingham is down to one point. Both clubs were also fined £10,000.
While QPR are dominating the Championship and seem destined to return to the Premier League, there is still the possibility of that dream being snatched away. The runaway leaders face seven charges relating to third party ownership and unauthorised payments to agents in the transfer of Alejandro Faurlin.
An independent commission will deliver their verdict on 6th May, the day before their final game of the season. The third party ownership is similar to the controversial deal which saw Carlos Tevez join West Ham United in 2006/07. Ironically, Neil Warnock – whose Sheffield United side were relegated thanks to Tevez’s contribution for the Hammers and vehemently argued for a points deduction – now sees the boot on the other foot with the possibility of that punishment being given to his side.
Another promotion hopeful, Leeds United, may face further investigation into their ownership should they be promoted to the Premier League. The clubs CEO, Shaun Harvey, told the Culture, Media and Sport committee on football governance last month that the owners of Leeds United were not known beyond it being a holding company, FSF, based in the West Indies. Following this revelation Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore told the same committee yesterday that Leeds would have to reveal their true owners should they earn promotion this season.