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Forget Nottingham Forest and Everton FFP cases, it is Man City we want to hear about



You can’t help feeling that the timing of the decision on Nottingham Forest’s points deduction appeal was perfect for the Premier League.

With relegation issues this season all but settled, it didn’t really matter how the appeal went as it was unlikely to have a material impact – unless Forest’s sanction had been increased. Given the uproar that would have provoked at a club already believing the league has it in for them over the use of VAR, and especially in light of Everton already being handed a reduced punishment, it was never likely.


So, had the Reds been given back say two of the points already lost to player spending breaches, it would merely have hurried along Burnley and Luton’s return to the Championship. As it is, with each team just two games away from concluding their campaigns and points margins and goal differences favouring Forest, it seems likely this weekend’s round of matches will finally seal the fate of the two clubs promoted last season.


The sighs of relief after Saturday’s win for Forest and defeat for Burnley, plus Luton’s Friday night draw with Everton, must have been almost palpable at Premier League HQ. The last thing they wanted was the Forest appeal to spark another controversy in a season in which it seems ever-changing rules and the use of technology have almost decided some of the major issues. Almost, but probably not quite.

Every week there seems to be a new vote on some fresh way of appraising club spending, usually provoking a squabble between the haves and the have-nots; every matchday there seems to be some new row about refereeing and VAR. It has to stop.

The inception of the Premier League was all about being the best – lucrative TV deals and paying the highest wages and fees to lure to England the very best players the game had to offer. It resulted in a fast-paced, attractive and exciting league that was the envy of the world.

Not anymore. The top-flight hierarchy now seem intent on finding new ways to limit spending while sucking the life out of the game with ever more ridiculous interpretations of offside and what constitutes a penalty. Have you seen a spontaneous goal celebration recently? No, me neither.


Referees’ chiefs then compound the issue by urging match officials to change their interpretation of daft rules month by month. Therefore, an offence at the start of the season is no longer a problem by the time the business end comes around, and vice-versa. There are more level playing fields in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Of course, the biggest question of all remains unanswered, and it was asked again and again yesterday, by fans of all clubs, not just Forest, after the ruling on the latest points deduction appeal was announced – what about Manchester City?

Premier League CEO Richard Masters tells us a hearing is imminent; top-flight officials have already claimed it is a far more complex case, involving rules implemented before those which snared the likes of Everton and the Reds. Surely, they are not setting us up for a fall?

Any suggestion of sleight of hand being at play in deciding the 115 charges City are facing; any hint that the issue is being swept under the carpet will provoke such a backlash against the league that Forest’s moans about VAR, Luton fans and the like will seem like a minor disagreement. The league have seemingly backed themselves into one almighty corner, and it will be fascinating to see how they extricate themselves while keeping their integrity intact.

Do you agree with the appeal verdict? Have your say in the comments HERE



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