Football: Spurs look for points decision

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The Independent Online
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR are understood to be negotiating a points- for-cash deal with the Football Association in an attempt to reduce the threat of relegation from the Premiership next season.

The club were deducted 12 points, suspended from the FA Cup and fined pounds 600,000 by the FA last month for illegal payments to players. Although their non-participation in the Cup is a heavy financial blow, the deduction of league points is seen as having condemned Spurs to an unwinnable fight against relegation. The drop into the First Division would cost the club an estimated pounds 7m.

The FA is due to hear Tottenham's appeal on Wednesday and what may now happen is that the points deducted will be reduced to six, but the fine increased. This would still be less than the cost of relegation. However, there would have to be additional incentives for the FA to lighten a sentence which many felt was deserved.

These would be in the form of concessions from Alan Sugar, the Tottenham chairman, regarding his claims that 70 per cent of the Premiership - 17 of the 22 clubs - were involved in improper payments. There may also be an attempt to persuade Sugar to settle his differences with Terry Venables, the England coach. The FA views both concerns to be damaging to football's reputation.

Tony Cascarino, the striker freed by Chelsea and now on World Cup duty with the Republic of Ireland, is reported to have agreed terms with Marseille.