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Page last updated at 14:04 GMT, Thursday, 2 April 2009 15:04 UK

Mawhinney fears for clubs' future

Lord Brian Mawhinney
Lord Mawhinney says a League club could fold in the recession

The chairman of the Football League Lord Brian Mawhinney has said he fears that a League club may fold during the current economic crisis.

But he told BBC Radio Lincolnshire that the situation was hampered by clubs not disclosing their plight to the league.

Lord Mawhinney said: "Could we lose a club? Yes, we could. Am I expecting to lose a club? I don't know because they don't tell us what their finances are."

In the last 12 months four League Two clubs have gone into administration.

But Lord Mawhinney defended the League's policy of giving a 10-point penalty to clubs who enter administration.

He said: "The clubs that went into administration got penalised on the field precisely because one of the league's most important jobs, some would say its most important job, is to protect the integrity of the competition.

"If you have a club that's entered administration three times in 12 years, what that usually means is for a long time they've been paying out what they couldn't afford and that gives them an unfair advantage.

"There are really only two options, fine them or dock points, and if they're in administration there's no point in fining them."

Mawhinney's comments are not the first from a top football official warning of financial problems in the game.

In October Football Association chairman Lord Triesman said English clubs owed an estimated £3bn and warned they could be in "terrible danger" should the economic crisis deepen.

Triesman said the Premier League's four top clubs - Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea - are believed to account for a third of that debt.

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see also
League boss fears financial hit
26 Mar 09 |  Football
Southampton future 'in jeopardy'
02 Apr 09 |  Southampton
Lincoln City 1-0 Macclesfield
31 Mar 09 |  League Two

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