What is a proportionate penalty?

The less said about yesterday and our away form the better. It must change and change soon!

Once again I find myself posting about the financial woes of other clubs.

Since my last post about Croydon Athletic (D Day for them at the end of this week), things continue to go a little crazy.

Ilkeston Town from the Blue Square North have gone bust almost below the radar and had their record expunged in what seems like record time. The excellent Twohundredpercent blog describes what happened up in Derbyshire.

Welling United from the Blue Square South have just had 5 points taken away (together with a suspended £5,000 fine) having been found guilty of misconduct by the FA for, as Barrie Hobbins the Welling Secretary admits in his statement “ not only falling behind on HMRC liabilities but submitting inaccurate financial returns to the Football Conference”. You can read the full Welling statement here. And last week’s Non League Paper reported St Albans City, again from the Blue Square South, were being investigated by the FA regarding payments to players, though nothing has been proved or confirmed here as far as I am aware.

Remember we are still in September! At the end of last season many clubs were reprieved due to the problems of others (Margate who beat us yesterday being one of those reprieved) and for so many of those clubs with financial problems it comes from one thing – spending too much chasing success.

In Welling’s case they are considering whether the 5 point deduction is a proportionate and reasonable sanction. How many points should be deducted for cheating – because that is what they are guilty of.

We (and many other clubs) don’t withhold money from the HMRC, or submit inaccurate financial returns to the authorities. We work hard to get our finances on an even keel and spend what we can afford to avoid going into debt. So is a 5 points deduction fair? Perhaps they should be forcibly relegated 2 divisions as well rather than still being in contention for a promotion place into the Blue Square Premier.

For me Welling, Croydon Athletic, Ilkeston and those who have gone before them – and those who have still to be found out – deserve no sympathy for their plight, indeed one can only hope that a 5 point deduction is at the low end of the punishment scale in future.

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