Southampton owners enter administration

Former FA Cup winners Southampton faced an uncertain future on Thursday when the holding company of Championship club went into administration.

In a statement to the Stock Exchange, Southampton Leisure Holdings Ltd said that administrators had been appointed but insisted that the football club was unaffected.

The football club's chief executive and former chairman Rupert Lowe, chairman Michael Wilde and director Andrew Cowen have resigned as directors of the parent company.

Under Football League rules clubs entering administration are deducted 10 points, a sanction that would mean almost certain relegation for Southampton who are currently second-last in the Championship, three points from safety.

Southampton, who won the 1976 FA Cup final against Manchester United, have not been in the third tier of English football for 49 years. They dropped out of the Premier League in 2005 after a 27-year stay in the top flight.

A Football League spokesman said Southampton's situation would be discussed at its regular monthly board meeting on Tuesday.

Joint administrator Mark Fry said the club had the potential to return to the Premier League.

"Southampton Football Club has a long history in English football, and could be an extremely attractive investment for the right buyer," he told Sky Sports News.

"We are working hard to preserve the value of the football club and produce a positive outcome for all stakeholders, and I ask that fans continue to show their support for the team for the remainder of the season, as we seek to show the best face possible to potential investors."