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Club urges punishment review

English Barclays Premiership

We are urging the Football Association to reconsider its policy of punishment when players seriously misbehave during a match.

On Wednesday, we lost our appeal against a fine of L150,000 handed out after an 18-man brawl when we played Leeds United at Elland Road in February. Leeds United were fined the same sum, beating the L50,000 imposed on Arsenal and Manchester United in 1990, when they also had points deducted.

As a result of losing the appeal, we are asking the FA to consider punishing the players rather than the clubs for on-pitch problems.

Company secretary John Ireland issued a statement after the appeal, saying we were again disappointed by the FA's decision, which followed Lee Bowyer's tackle on Stephen Clemence.

"It seems impossible to persuade the Football Association that it is wrong in principle to punish clubs for the behaviour of players during a match. No club can control the actions of their players on the pitch. The only solution to the problem of player misbehaviour is to punish the players themselves.

"Having accepted the benefits of their profession, they should also accept their responsibilities."

FA spokesman Steve Double replied by saying: "Our rules state that clubs can be held responsible for their players behaviour and that's why we brought the case."

Photographs courtesy of Action Images Ltd.

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