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OPEN LETTER FROM THE CHAIRMAN

Posted on 10 May 2006  - 12:00

Following the decision on Wednesday to refuse our request for a replay of the West Ham game, Chairman Daniel Levy writes an open letter to supporters.

Following the decision on Wednesday to refuse our request for a replay of the West Ham game, Chairman Daniel Levy writes an open letter to supporters.

Dear Supporter

The Premier League has today rejected our request for a replay of Sunday's match against West Ham.

We are disappointed, but not surprised. We continue to feel justifiably aggrieved at the course of events and remain convinced that the game should never have been played. If the loss of over half a selected squad to an inexplicable illness in highly suspect circumstances does not warrant the postponement of a match, then I can only despair at the state of our governing rules.

In going ahead with the match, I trust you will appreciate that we chose the only safe option that would guarantee our already hard fought for place in European competition - and that, in making this request to the Premier League, we have fought to right an injustice.

I should stress that our purpose in taking this request to the Premier League was two-fold: Firstly to seek the replay we feel we rightly deserved, but, equally important, to highlight these wholly inadequate and ambiguous rules that fail to regulate such incidents. The Spanish Football Federation allowed for the postponement of an Atletico Madrid game earlier this year due to the illness of players. Keith Lamb, Chief Executive of Middlesborough, has previously referred to the 'incomplete' nature of our rules and called for the Premier League to review them, so that no other club would ever be faced with this situation again. We are therefore the second club to call on the Premier League to urgently review their processes and rules in this regard.

We are continuing to vigorously investigate the cause and origin of the illness. We shall leave no stone unturned in this quest. I know it may be extremely difficult to conclusively prove, but I am determined to, at the very least, establish whether or not this was a deliberate act of sabotage, striking at the very heart of the spirit of the competition. If there is a price to be paid, I shall look to ensure that it is paid. Additionally, if we do find any proof of foul play, we will bring this matter back to the FAPL without delay and will expect them to launch an immediate investigation in the interests of the integrity of the competition.

I have received many emails of support from you, our fans, welcoming our stand on this lack of fair play and I thank you for those. A recurring theme is the pride you all felt in our 'heroes' on the pitch on Sunday and that you are looking forward to our return to Europe. It has been a great season and we should refuse to let this mar the achievements of it and the optimism with which we will now greet the new season.