Cardiff fear winding-up threat in court battle over loan

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The Independent Football

FA Cup semi-finalists Cardiff City faced a claim for payment of £31m yesterday on the first day of a High Court hearing of a case which the club has said could force them into administration.

The Championship club, who beat Premier League Middlesbrough to reach the last four last weekend, are being sued by financial backers Langston over the repayment of an outstanding loan of around £24m.

Switzerland-based investment company Langston has asked judge Michael Briggs to grant summary judgment, without the need for a full trial, on its claim for immediate payment of the sum it says is due on the 2004 loan. Cardiff have said they would have to consider going into administration should they be ordered to pay immediately.

Administration would trigger an automatic 10-point deduction by the Football League that would send them from 18th place to the relegation zone.

The Welsh club, who won the FA Cup in 1927, say they do not have to repay the bulk of their loan until 2016.

The hearing is scheduled to last two days, after which the judge is expected to reserve his decision on whether summary judgment can be granted in Langston's favour, and give a ruling at a later date, probably in writing. If he rejects Langston's application, the corporation's claim for repayment will go to a full trial at a later date. The hearing continues tomorrow.

Uefa meanwhile will intervene if Cardiff win the FA Cup but are prevented from competing in the Uefa Cup, president Michel Platini has revealed.

If Cardiff win the 6 April meeting with Barnsley then beat either West Bromwich or Portsmouth in the final the Football Association insist they will not be put forward as one of England's representatives for the Uefa Cup because they come under the jurisdiction of the FA of Wales.

The Welsh governing body reserve their places for winners of their domestic competitions, leaving Cardiff potentially in limbo.

The former France midfielder told BBC Radio Five Live: "It's not normal that they participate in one competition and if they win they are out. That is not good. If England don't do something we will do something because we always respect the result."