Luton points deduction over transfers
Wednesday 04 June 2008
League Two side Luton have been deducted 10 points for next season after being found guilty of 15 charges of misconduct by a Football Association Regulatory Commission.
The Hatters and a number of their former directors were hit with charges last season after allegations of bungs were made.
But in making his judgement today, Peter Griffiths QC insisted there was no evidence of any "bungs or backhanders passed on to agents", but he did say that the club had been run with "a flagrant disregard for the Regulations laid down to protect the game."
The charges were issued against the club in November after allegations which had originally been made by former manager Mike Newell in January 2006.
It was alleged that payments totalling £160,000 had been made to agents by the club, and the club, its directors and six agents were hit with charges by the FA.
The Hatters have had a troubled season and went into administration in November, leading to a 10-point deduction which saw them relegated from Coca-Cola League One, just one year after going down from the Championship.
As well as the sanctions for the club - who have also been fined £50,000 - former chairman Bill Tomlins has been fined £15,000 and banned from all football activities for five years in respect of 13 charges of misconduct.
Former financial director Derek Peter was also banned from the game - for a year - and fined £3,750 in relation to seven charges, while former directors Richard Bagehot and John Mitchell were fined £750 and £250 respectively and reprimanded for "failing to a immediately report the relevant wrongdoing to the Football League".
The six agents involved in the case - Andrew Mills, Sky Andrew, Steven Denos, Mike Berry, David Manasseh and Mark Curtis - were warned as to their future conduct over a charge of "failing to have in place a written representation contract with Luton Town Football Club".
Griffiths said: "There may have been a public misconception following the announcement of The Football Association's enquiry into the affairs of Luton Town Football Club in that it might have been thought by some that the directors and agents had been involved, using the vernacular, in 'bungs' and/or 'backhanders' or in some other form of corruption. We wish to dispel any such misconception.
"After exhaustive enquiry, the Regulatory Commission is satisfied that there were no 'bungs' and/or 'backhanders' passed on to agents to facilitate the transfer of players and no corruption.
"Having said that, there can be no doubt that Luton Town Football Club, between July 2004 and February 2007 was run with a flagrant disregard for the regulations laid down to protect the game.
"At the heart of the allegations laid against both Luton Town Football Club and two of its Directors, Mr Bill Tomlins and Mr Derek Peter, was the routing of payments to agents not through The Football Association as ought to have occurred but through an associated company, namely Jayten Stadium Limited. This was brought to the attention of the Football Association by an employee of the club itself.
"The person principally responsible for Luton Town Football Club's serious misconduct was, without doubt, Mr Bill Tomlins, the former chairman of the club. During the relevant period he worked virtually full time as the principal director, and was effectively its chief executive officer. It was he who disregarded rules that he knew were in place to protect the game despite being warned informally that it was wrong."
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