10-point penalty relegates Southampton

Southampton were effectively relegated from the Championship on Thursday when the Football League docked the club 10 points for going into administration earlier this month. The south coast team announced three weeks ago that their holding company, Southampton Leisure Holdings Ltd, had appointed administrators but said they did not expect to be deducted points as the football club was unaffected. However, the league investigated before announcing on its website that officials considered the club and the holding company to be "inextricably linked as one economic entity" and the usual penalty should be imposed. The club's joint administrators said later they were considering appealing the League's decision to deduct points. "We are of the opinion that an incorrect conclusion has been reached," a statement said. "The football regulations do not apply to the circumstances surrounding Southampton Football Club. "This is a view shared by the lawyers and advisers to both the club and the administrators... who are now considering their positions and expect to launch an appeal." Southampton were facing probable relegation anyway, second-last in the division on 44 points, four adrift of safety, with two games remaining. The league said if the club avoided relegation, the 10-point penalty would be imposed and they would go down. If they go down automatically then the 10-point deduction will come into force next season. That means Southampton would begin life in the third tier of English football for the first time for 50 years on minus 10 points. The 1976 FA Cup winners dropped out of the Premier League in 2005 after a 27-year stay in the top flight.