Trust issues new letter over Pompey punishment

Persistent Luton Town supporters club Trust in Luton have followed up their letter to the Football League over the sanctions administered to rivals Watford by penning another missive to the authorities about the punishment handed out to League One Portsmouth, writes Mark Wood.

Feelings still run high among Hatters supporters over the 10-point deduction they suffered in 2007–08 for entering administration and the draconian 30 points docked from its 2008–09 record by the Football Association and Football League for various financial irregularities.

A statement by TiL read: “The purpose of our letter to the Football League is, once again, to draw their attention to and seek their comments on the contradictions between the sanctions imposed against each club.

“It’s taken five years but the unfathomable decisions by the football authorities in 2008 are now starting to unravel and it’s time to find out exactly what did happen behind those closed doors.

“We want a response to both letters. We all – every one of us Luton supporters – deserve an explanation. Not a wall of silence. Not a bland dismissive non-statement. But an explanation. At the very least.

“Watch this space. TiL – on your behalf, and on our club’s behalf - will not let this lie.”

Portsmouth’s 10-point deduction will be imposed this season in stark contrast to what happened to the Hatters.

The statement continued: “You won’t have been surprised to learn that Portsmouth have been docked 10 points for coming out of administration for the second time in three years without, in the Football League’s own words “a fully compliant CVA” - because after all, rules are rules.

“What is surprising, however, is that those 10 points have been deducted from this season’s points tally – a season in which Portsmouth have already been relegated - making the deduction a meaningless gesture.

“If you recall, in the summer of 2008, Luton were hit with a 20 point deduction by the Football League when coming out of administration.

“Far from being backdated into our own relegation season of 2007-08, the points were to be taken from the 2008-09 season which, when added to the FA’s own 10 point penalty, gave rise to our infamous, and widely criticised, -30 point season. An effective death sentence to our Football League status.”

And while pleased to have seen Pompey rescued by a supporters group TiL are understandable puzzled by the differences in treatment.

The statement added: “As the Supporters Trust who contributed to securing the future of our club after the mismanagement, misdemeanours and misjudgements of previous owners had put us into administration, we of course applaud the work and success of the Portsmouth Supporters Trust in rescuing that fine old club, which has suffered so much from bad ownership.

“No-one knows how much that struggle hurts and costs more than we do.

“But for the second time in a short period, we are left scratching our heads in puzzlement.

“How come – again – a club gets a meaningless punishment, when we were left deep in the mire in similar circumstances?

“Despite sending a reminder, we haven’t yet had the decency of a response from the Football League’s Andy Williamson to our letter about the contrast between Watford’s sanctions and ours.

“Perhaps he’s waiting to see where they finish? But we have now written to him again about the Portsmouth case.”

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