By Paul Heaney
Championship leaders QPR should be deducted points if they’ve broken FA rules, according to a Cardiff University legal expert.
As Cardiff City fans deal with their slide out of the automatic promotion places, Professor Bob Lee said decisions taken in previous cases suggest stripping QPR of points is a realistic outcome.
Rangers are accused of signing Alejandro Faurlin, who was owned by a third party in July 2009 when he signed from an Argentinean side.
At an FA hearing this week in Wembley, English Football’s governing body will decide whether to fine the Loftus Road club, issue a points deduction, or both.
There is still uncertainty over where the current league leaders will finish this season, although a decision is expected tomorrow (Friday).
Who decides what happens to QPR?
A four-man panel will hear from both sides and make a judgement on whether the club broke any rules, and how they should be punished.
Headed by an independent QC, it includes two representatives from FA County organisations and an ex-professional.
QPR face seven charges, including giving the FA false information and bringing the game into disrepute.
What could it mean for Cardiff or Swansea?
Thirteen is the unlucky number for Neil Warnock’s men – a reduction of that magnitude will see them compete in the play-offs instead, no matter what happens elsewhere.
If anything up to five points are taken from their total, QPR will be promoted to the premiership even if they loose their final game.
Seven points will require at least a draw in their final game to be sure of automatic promotion.
Nine will require both Cardiff and Swansea to fail to win in their final matches for the London side to gain second place.
What if the other clubs aren’t happy?
Cardiff or Swansea could take civil action against QPR for breach of contract, according to Professor Lee.
All Championship clubs sign up to play to the same rules at the start of the season.
In 2009 West Ham agreed to pay Sheffield United tens of millions of pounds in instalments as compensation for Sheffield’s relegation into the Championship, after the Hammers signed Carlos Tevez, who was owned by a third party.
The rules on player ownership were changed at the time to make it an offence for Championship sides to sign players owned by third parties.