Time To Readdress Rules For Clubs Entering Admin TSS March 2, 2012 Leeds United 32 Comments Points deductions for teams entering administration are supposed to deter other clubs from wild overspending. But do they work? Who are they really punishing? Surely the punishment to the previous owners responsible for the club’s plight is losing the business they owned? Once the club enters administration, they have no further involvement, their days of financially mismanaging the club in question are over. They can either accept they’re no good at running a football club, or- worryingly- move on to the next victim. As a Leeds United fan, I’m no stranger to the perils of administration. At Elland Road, the situation was different from most in that Ken Bates somehow managed to take our club into administration, wiping clear all of our debts and still come out the other end as owner through offshore and “anonymous” holding companies. This was wrong on so many levels. Millions of pounds owed in tax and to various other creditors, including many local businesses, was wiped off and forgotten about, and the man responsible for a lot of this debt (Leeds United had amassed tens of millions of pounds of additional debt since Bates’ first takeover) was able to continue running the club. It’s like taking out a mortgage followed by several loans to improve your property, defaulting on repayments, declaring bankruptcy and then ending up owning the whole thing anyway. For tens of millions of pounds of debt wiped clean, Leeds United – already faced with certain relegation – were handed an inconsequential 10 point deduction followed by a 15 point deduction to start the following season with. But why should Leeds United be punished at all? The club were at the lowest point in their history and the fans had played no part in this. The real failing was that of The FA and Football League for allowing this to happen in the first place! When Sky Sports, Coca-Cola and Barclays came knocking offering huge sums of money, the football governing bodies decided that the game should be run as a business first and a sport second. In doing so, it was their duty to ensure adequate protection was provided to the clubs from dodgy owners and chancers that would lead them on the road to oblivion. The FA created this situation, they can’t punish those that still see football as a sport for the failings they created when cashing in on it’s potential as a business. Needless to say, The FA don’t see it this way. If they did, they’d address the real issue. They would take preventative measures to ensure the people buying up our clubs really are “fit and proper”, and when one slips through the cracks, they wouldn’t punish the clubs because the system they created has failed, they’d punish the businessmen responsible by banning them from any involvement in the English game for life. The crux of the matter is this. Handing Portsmouth, Leeds United or any other team that has been financially mismanaged a points deduction is punishing the fans and the team. The FA and Football League aren’t punishing the dodgy owners that continue to make a mockery of their system, by the time the points deductions kick in – theoretically at least – those responsible are long gone. Instead they’re punishing the sport itself. I don’t want to sound like some football purist romanticising about a bygone era, but as a football fan, I never asked that the sport was run primarily as a business. The FA wanted that, and it’s their duty to sort this mess out. The system is broke and points deductions are nothing more than passing the blame. Why should we suffer for the failings of those that are tasked with governing the game?