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Would fair play rules hold up in court?

Sooner or later Uefa's fair play rules are going to face a challenge in court from a club that wants to spend as they like.   Would such a challenge succeed?   This is a question that has been debated over the last few days by members of the Sport and the European Union e-mail list who include some leading sports lawyers.    Not surprisingly, no definite conclusion has emerged which is why the question is likely to eventually go to the courts (jncidentally, leading to a nice earner for the lawyers involved).

Score draw in TV price war

An out-of-court interim settlement has been reached in a dispute between BSkyB and other content providers about whether the satellite broadcaster should be required to sell on Premier League matches wholesale to other platforms.  The agreement is seen as a 'score draw' by analysts.  BSkyB agreed to stop efforts to block an Ofcom ruling on April 1 that it must sell football content, but it will continue to pursue its main legal challenge to the ruling.  This could take nine months to sort out.

Worries over Birmingham City's future eased

Concerns about the future of Birmingham City have eased after it was announced that the club had settled a £2.2m debt with investment bank Seymour Pierce.   If the payment had not been made, there was a risk that the club could be sold from under the current owners.   Seymour Pierce just wanted money they saw as theirs, although Birmingham City are to appeal against the court decision.

Legal battle looms between Birmingham and West Ham owners

A protracted and bitter legal battle between the new and former owners of Birmingham is in prospect.   David Sullivan at West Ham responded to a writ served against him and four other former board members at the Blues by suggesting that he would issue a counterclaim for £2m in allegeldly unpaid expenses.

Out of court settlement to Hull City dispute?

A report in The Times suggests that there may be a possibility of an out of court settlement in the potentially bitter legal dispute between Hull City and their former chairman, Paul Duffen. The real beneficiaries from a protracted legal dispute are often the lawyers who are fully entitled to be paid professional fees for the deployment of their expertise.

Pompey May Sue Premiership

The Press Association has just reported that Portsmouth is contemplating suing the Barclays Premier League over their refusal to lift the club's transfer embargo so that they can at least bring in loan players during the transfer window. My view is that Portsmouth are increasingly losing touch with reality and they should be very careful how they tread, even if the law is on their side. There is an appetite out there to make an example of a club to bring home to football clubs that they cannot go on living beyond their means.

Spurs Back Redknapp Over Tax Case

Spurs have given manager Harry Redknapp their 'full support' after it was announced that the Inland Revenue were to institute proceedings against him relating to his time as Portsmouth manager. His solicitors said in a statement, 'Harry Redknapp is extremely surprised and disappointed to have been informed that HMRC intend to institute proceedings against him in the week commencing January 11, 2010. We believe that the decision [will] be shown to have been totally misconceived.' Spurs consider the matter to be a private tax issue 'which is not related to football matters.

A Good Time To Be Paranoid?

As Michel Platini has become increasingly bullish about his 'financial fair play' strategy which many see as targeted at the top English clubs, some fans of those clubs may feel they are justified in being paranoid. Uefa slapped a two match ban on Eduardo for diving: nothing wrong in that, except that many such offences are ignored. Then Fifa imposed a transfer ban on Chelsea for inducing a French player to break his contract and join them. Chelsea do, of course, have previous with Ashley Cole and some fans of other clubs welcomed the move.

Match Fixing Allegations

Football betting specialists Blue Square are 'convinced' some players from both Grays and Forest Green manufactured the result of the final Conference match of the season between the two teams. More than £100,000 was staked on the fixture when Grays beat Rovers 2-1. The majority of the bets were laid at between 22-1 and 25-1 on Grays to be losing at the interval and win by the score at which the game finished. The betting, largely centred in the north-west and in Essex 24 hours before the game, alerted the bookies who suspended gambling on the match.

Southampton Fight Points Deduction

Southampton are to appeal against the ten points deduction imposed by the Football League. If they are relegated anyway, they would start their League 1 season with minus ten points. After studying a report by forensic accountants, the League decided that the holding company and the club 'are inextricaby linked as one economic entity'. However, the club argue that Grant Thornton, the firm of accountants that conducted the investigation, went outside the remit agreed by the League and the club. The League has insisted, however, that Saints have no good grounds for an appeal.