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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 January, 2004, 17:38 GMT
Dundee face point deduction
Fabrizio Ravanelli after being sacked by Dundee
Dundee sacked 15 players after going into administration
Scottish Premier League clubs who go into administration after this season will suffer a 10-point deduction and prevented from signing new players.

Motherwell and Dundee, who are both in administration, will not be affected by the sanction this term.

But if they are not in the process of coming out of administration by 31 May, the ruling will apply for next season.

Motherwell have begun that process, but as things stand, Dundee could start next season with minus 10 points.

Dundee administrator Tom Burton stressed that he did not agree with the new ruling, and suggested it may not be legal.

"At Dundee FC, we hope that we can work round the proposed sanctions and not be further disadvantaged by the decision," he said.

"However the painful difficulties faced by clubs in administration have never been more visible and this move to impose further financial sanctions on a club in a similar position in the future will have severe consequences.

"Whilst we are aware of the motives behind the SPL's decision we do not agree with them.

"Football is not above the law and the penalties now faced by clubs entering administration after the end of this season may run contrary to the Enterprise Act 2003, which places the emphasis firmly on survival of companies.

"Under the new rules, survival is a much more difficult objective to achieve."

SPL chairman Lex Gold said: "There are no simple or easy options. Punishment should be through sporting sanctions."

Our aim was to accelerate the development of our young players and in this we have succeeded
SPL chairman Lex Gold
Under present rules, clubs in administration are free to pursue new signings despite sacking players who were under contract.

This will only happen in future under exceptional circumstances.

The SPL have also decided to increase the number of substitutes allowed on the bench from five to seven.

And the Under-21 league is to be modified next season into a reserve competition with no age restrictions.

The increase in substitutes means clubs will have to include three players who are 21 or under in the squad.

Gold added: "The Under-21 league has been highly successful and gave many young players the platform to progress to the first team.

"It is the number of these players who are now playing at that level which allows us to take these steps.

"When the SPL started in 1998 there was a lack of young talent. Our aim was to accelerate the development of our young players and in this we have succeeded.

"The current economic climate has had an effect, but it is testament to the youth policies established by the SPL and adopted by our clubs that so many young players are thriving in our league."

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