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Page last updated at 09:32 GMT, Wednesday, 8 April 2009 10:32 UK

Saints expect to avoid punishment

St Mary's Stadium

Southampton are optimistic they will not be deducted points as a result of an independent inquiry into the club's legal and financial position.

The Championship side face relegation if they have broken regulations.

But the lawyer appointed by the administrators of the parent company of Southampton football club believes that will not happen.

Michael Fiddy told BBC Radio Solent: "The rules are on our side. The PLC cannot have any points deducted."

Seven years ago Derby County avoided a points penalty after the Co-Op bank called in receivers to recover some of the £27m the club owed to it.

But Fiddy refused to admit this has necessarily set a precedent.

He said:"All of these situations are slightly different because the clubs have different structures.

"The rules relate to part of the undertaking of the business going into administration. If that occurs, then there is a deduction of points.

"The holding company of Southampton, Southampton Leisure Holdings PLC, isn't part of the undertaking of the business. It holds the shares in the Football Club."

Last week it emerged that the Football League could still impose a punishment if a significant proportion of the football club's debt was wiped out by its parent company entering administration.

But Fiddy is keen to make the purpose of the regulations clear.

"The regulations are to maintain sporting integrity so that no football club can take advantage of the insolvency regime, to not pay its creditors and therefore get an advantage over its competitors," he added.

"The rules are on our side, but the key thing is that Southampton Football Club moves forward in the best method that it can do."

Saints face Championship leaders Wolves at Molineux on Friday, sitting two points adrift of safety with five matches left.

If the Football League opts to impose a points penalty after the report is published, the application of any punishment is dependent on Saints' final position.

If they avoid the bottom three places in the table, the penalty would be applied this season resulting in almost certain relegation.

However, if Saints fail to climb out of the relegation zone in the final five matches, the points penalty would be enforced from the start of next season in League One.

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see also
Watford 2-2 Southampton
07 Apr 09 |  Championship
Southampton await League inquiry
07 Apr 09 |  Southampton
Takeover interest for Southampton
06 Apr 09 |  Hampshire
Wotte admits to player concerns
06 Apr 09 |  Southampton
Le Tissier offers to help Saints
03 Apr 09 |  Southampton

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