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Avram Grant wants FA to review Europa League decision


Grant vows to keep fighting 'on and off pitch'

Portsmouth boss Avram Grant wants the Football Association and the Premier League to look at the decision to bar them from next season's Europa League.

The FA and Premier League decided that Pompey should not play in Europe after they did not apply for a Uefa licence.

"Someone in the FA and Premier League needs to say - we need to give them a reward," said Pompey manager Grant.

"I hope nobody says to me rules are rules - Liverpool finished fifth and got in the Champions League," he added.

Liverpool, who won the Champions League in 2005, were given special dispensation to enter Europe's top competition for the 2005/06 tournament, despite finishing fifth in the Premier League.

"According to the rules they should be not have been in the Champions League," said Grant, speaking after Portsmouth's 2-2 draw with Bolton. "But the rules were changed especially for them and they played.

"It's logical. This is a Cinderella story. This is what English football is about, not just about the rich."

In February Portsmouth became the first Premier League club to enter administration and were subsequently docked nine points.

Despite being relegated from the Premier League, Portsmouth enjoyed a fine FA Cup run which saw them reach the 15 May final, when they will play Chelsea.

Portsmouth had hoped their FA Cup appearance would lead to them appearing in Europe next season, with Chelsea already assured of a Champions League place.

But Pompey, facing debts of £119m, were not in a position to file their accounts in time because the club was in administration.

Uefa delegates its licensing scheme to national associations, leaving the FA to decide whether Portsmouth could prove to Uefa that the business was solvent by 31 May.

However, after deliberating with the Premier League, English football's governing body opted against endorsing Portsmouth's application.


Pompey's place will now go to the side that finishes seventh in the Premier League.

And Grant feels the ruling from English football's authorities is just one of a number of "unfair" decisions to go against his side this season.

"Why all these decisions against Portsmouth?" said Grant. "Tell the Premier League to wait a little bit. Of course we have been treated unfairly - that is for sure.

"We didn't do anything - not the players, not the fans, not the staff. But who do they punish every time?"

Grant added: "We continue to show fair play on the pitch, which is more than I can say for the people in the offices.

"I don't know what to say. We are trying to do our job in football - I think everybody knows that it's difficult but we did it.

"It's good for the Premier League that a team like us didn't break. We have shown spirit, we are always fighting and always done our best in every situation.

"I don't understand why there are so many decisions off the pitch. We earned our position in Europe because we did a good job. It was an unbelievable job in very, very difficult circumstances."

Portsmouth appearance in Europe would be a welcome financial boost for the club, who are desperately seeking a buyer to lead them out of their current predicament.

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see also
Bolton 2-2 Portsmouth
24 Apr 10 |  Premier League
Saturday's football photos
24 Apr 10 |  Premier League
Saturday football as it happened
24 Apr 10 |  Football
Portsmouth Europa appeal rejected
22 Apr 10 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth debts close to 120m
21 Apr 10 |  Portsmouth
Spurs justify 1m Begovic demand
22 Apr 10 |  Premier League
Grant hails Pompey's 'crazy' day
12 Apr 10 |  Portsmouth
Tottenham 0-2 Portsmouth (aet)
11 Apr 10 |  FA Cup
Pompey must appeal for Cup money
08 Mar 10 |  Portsmouth
Pompey administrator role probed
02 Mar 10 |  Portsmouth
Kiwi businessman eyes Pompey deal
01 Mar 10 |  Portsmouth
Points deduction unjust - Grant
27 Feb 10 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth enter administration
26 Feb 10 |  Portsmouth
Pompey labelled 'dysfunctional'
26 Feb 10 |  Portsmouth

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