Football: Tottenham to appeal against FA punishment: Sugar continues his war of words with Lancaster Gate while Burns, Golac and McGhee lead the list of Paradise favourites

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The Independent Online
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR yesterday announced they would appeal against the Football Association's punishment for financial irregularities.

After admitting 22 out of 40 charges relating to irregular payments to players (and asking for the remaining charges to be taken into consideration) Spurs were hit with a pounds 600,000 fine, the deduction of 12 points and a one-season ban from the FA Cup - punishment which Alan Sugar, the Spurs chairman, described as 'diabolical'. The Spurs board confirmed yesterday it would appeal, and said it was consulting solicitors over the question of legal proceedings against previous directors and former employees.

'I have been shocked by the manner in which we have been dealt with by the FA after coming clean. I believe the FA have a vendetta against the club, if not me,' Sugar said.

'They have said 'Mr Sugar, we've been told that you are a big bully, you bang your hands on the table and shout your mouth off. This is us showing you that you don't bully us and push us around'.

'But in all the publicity last year with (former chief executive Terry) Venables and myself, if there were any skeletons in my cupboard, any enemies, they would have come forward by now.

'There is nobody I can think of, apart from Terry Venables, who accuses me of using bully-boy tactics. I'm not a saint or a goody- goody, but I'm straightforward.

'Tomorrow no writs are going to go flying around. We are going to ask our lawyers to go into it before we shoot from the hip. But we feel what has happened to us has been diabolical. At this moment I am ruling out court action, if the FA grant us an appeal then we will go into that. If we are not happy with the outcome of that then we will ask for arbitration.'

Sugar revealed the circumstances in which Spurs were charged. 'Mr Venables chose to continue his legal action against the club,' he said. 'Four or five weeks ago his company Edenote was finally, after all the ducking and dodging and delays, put into receivership.

'That happened on the Thursday. The FA then biked round to us the charges, and called a press conference to announce that Tottenham were being charged.

'I put it to you that their ploy was deliberate - to drown out the publicity that would have come the following day over Venables' company. They are paranoid that I want to discredit them in some way over their choice of manager.'

Venables' position as England coach is not threatened by the Tottenham controversy, the Football Association said last night. 'Allegations of any personal vendetta or hidden agendas defy all logic,' an FA statement read. 'Mr Venables has had nothing whatsoever to do with the investigation into Tottenham Hotspur by the Football Association. His position as England coach is unaffected.

'On Tuesday Tottenham Hotspur itself admitted to many charges of breaking football regulations over many years. The FA were not prepared to give details

of those charges because proceedings were and remain confidential.

'However, Mr Sugar has seen fit to say there were 22 charges admitted. This figure is inaccurate, 34 charges were admitted.'

Sugar said Ossie Ardiles would be given substantials sums to spend. 'I have told him the money is there specifically for top-class players.'

Sugar produced papers showing official offers had been made: pounds 4m for Norwich's Chris Sutton, pounds 2.75m for Southampton's international, Matthew Le Tissier, and pounds 2.3m for Marseille's France defender, Basile Boli. Spurs made some money when they received pounds 1m from Ipswich for Steve Sedgley, their utility player.

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