This is D-Day for Blackpool Football Club – the EFL is due to rule on the potential 12-point deduction today.
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Under EFL rules, the appointment of a court receiver is deemed ‘an insolvency event’, in the same way administration is, and carries the threat of a 12-point penalty.
The club’s new board has provided the required financial information for the EFL to make a decision and remains hopeful the deduction won’t be applied.
It has been claimed the EFL has three options: to punish the club and dock 12 points, not to apply any punishment or to register the punishment and suspend it for 12 months.
This final option would give the new owners the chance to prove they can run the club in a sustainable fashion by continuing to pay players and staff and to fulfil fixtures.
A points deduction would see the Seasiders’ League One total drop from 58 to 46. Terry McPhillips’ side would fall from eighth place to 15th, leaving them just three points above the relegation zone with five games remaining.
Christine Seddon, chair of Blackpool Supporters’ Trust, feels this would be “grossly unfair”.
She said: “A rigid application of the rules regarding insolvency events would be unhelpful and unjust.
“As drafted, those rules mainly cover instances where a club has overspent and has benefited unfairly as a result. Clearly that is not the case for Blackpool FC, where the opposite is true.
“The interim board have worked tirelessly to ensure the financial security of the club during this transitional phase, and they deserve the support of the football authorities to help the club to function and to remove the uncertainty which the possible points deduction has created.
“The manager and players have achieved far more on the pitch than would be expected given the incredibly difficult circumstances they have faced for most of the season. Penalising their efforts would be grossly unfair. Receivership has been caused by the financial misconduct of the Oyston family, not through any fault or financial weakness of the club itself.
“It is extraordinary that the EFL have failed to deal with that misconduct. To then punish the club that has already suffered from their inaction would be perverse indeed.”
In an open letter penned in February, the EFL’s outgoing chief executive Shaun Harvey claimed it is their priority to create “stability” at Blackpool.
He went on to say it is not mandatory to apply the 12-point deduction but added the circumstances surrounding the appointment of the receiver needed to be fully considered.
The appointment of the receiver was approved by the High Court to discharge the football club and its related assets in order to recoup the £25m Owen Oyston still owes to Valeri Belokon.
Oyston and his daughter Natalie Christopher were subsequently removed from their roles on the board, paving the way for thousands of fans to lift their boycott.