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Ten-point penalty lets off 'cheats', says Hearn

The Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn insists clubs that go into administration are "cheating" and called for such cases to be punished by a two-division relegation.

Several English clubs are currently in dire financial trouble with Portsmouth the highest-profile case. A number of clubs have gone into administration in recent years and, while they were hit by points penalties, Hearn believes the authorities are not being strong enough.

He said: "When you think about it logically, a football club that spends more money than it can afford to spend on fielding a team, obviously paying its wages when it hasn't got the resources, is actually cheating, isn't it?

"Basically, it's fielding a side they couldn't afford to field if they played under normal business rules. There are two issues here. One is the football authorities' stupid 10-point penalty. It doesn't mean a row of beans, 10 points, in a lot of cases."

Hearn added: "We're not being strict enough. What we should say, and I'm certainly going to put this to the Football League board at the chairman's conference this year, is it's about time we took a grip of this situation as it's getting out of hand. I'm going to suggest a two-division relegation for any club that goes into administration.

"Give them a year's notice to let them know it's coming in so we're not just springing it on people. Tell these people that they have to run a proper business because otherwise it's exactly the same as an athlete taking steroids or performance enhancing drugs.

"They are cheating in exactly the same way and it's time to stamp this out and the only way we will stamp it out is with draconian measures."