Michelle Owen is a trainee journalist and football fanatic. Follow her on Twitter here.
By Michelle Owen
The Bluebirds’ hopes of automatic promotion were dashed in a dismal display against Middlesbrough last night. Within 21 minutes Cardiff were 3-0 down, a shock considering they had before last night only lost once at home since November.
Leroy Lita put Boro ahead after two minutes, before picking out midfielder Barry Robson who turned home from six yards. They conceded a third from Smallwood, and it looked as if all hopes of automatic promotion had faded. The score line stayed the same, and elsewhere Norwich just edged out Portsmouth to claim a 1-0 away victory, which saw them grab the automatic promotion spot ahead of Cardiff and Swansea, now on 83 points.
However, there may be a further twist. QPR, who sit currently as champions on 88 points, could be docked as many as 15 points over the signing of player Alejandro Faurlin.
A hearing has started surrounding the signing of the midfielder and the initial deal which was struck. If the club is found to have done wrong, it could potentially lose as many as 15 points, which would see the club fall into the play-off places. In turn, this would leave room for one more club in the play-off positions to move up into the automatic promotion spot of second, with Norwich moving up to first
Cardiff currently sits on 79 points, and Swansea on 77, which would mean either South Wales club could gain automatic promotion on the final day of the season.
The outcome of the hearing will not be known until the end of the week. It comes following the Carlos Tevez saga, after Tevez helped West Ham avoid the drop despite being owned by a third party. Ironically, it was Sheffield United that went down that season, who was managed by Neil Warnock, the current QPR manager. Sheffield United lodged an official complaint against West Ham, who had to pay Sheffield United £20m in compensation, and a further £5m to the Premier League.
In this case, however, West Ham were not docked any points. Its is alleged QPR failed to notify the FA of an economic agreement between themselves and a third party regarding the signing of Alejandro Faurlin and his economic rights, before the club had signed him.