Levy promises to fight on if foul play fears are proved

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The Independent Online

The Tottenham chairman, Daniel Levy, has voiced his disappointment at the Premier League's decision to reject their request for a replay of the West Ham game and has promised further action if foul play was the cause of the food poisoning which affected 10 players.

While Levy insists that the game should never have been played, he has urged the club's fans to put the matter behind them and look forward to the new season. Spurs failed to qualify for the Champions' League after losing 2-1 to West Ham on the final day of the season, Arsenal's 4-2 victory over Wigan at Highbury enabling the Gunners to clinch fourth position instead.

Levy reacted to the appeal decision with dismay, saying he despaired at the state of the rules which did not take into account such matters as food poisoning.

He said: "We are disappointed, but not surprised. We continue to feel justifiably aggrieved at the course of events and remain convinced that the game should never have been played.

"If the loss of over half a selected squad to an inexplicable illness in highly suspect circumstances does not warrant the postponement of a match, then I can only despair at the state of our governing rules.

"I should stress that our purpose in taking this request to the Premier League was twofold - firstly to seek the replay we feel we rightly deserved, but, equally importantly, to highlight these wholly inadequate and ambiguous rules that fail to regulate such incidents.

"The Spanish football federation allowed for the postponement of an Atletico Madrid game earlier this year due to the illness of players. Keith Lamb, chief executive of Middlesbrough, has previously referred to the 'incomplete' nature of our rules and called for the Premier League to review them, so that no other club would ever be faced with this situation again.

"We are therefore the second club to call on the Premier League to urgently review their processes and rules in this regard."

Levy stressed that Spurs would continue to try to track down the origin of the food poisoning and promised fans they would return to the League if it was discovered that it was deliberate foul play.

He added: "We are continuing to vigorously investigate the cause and origin of the illness. We shall leave no stone unturned in this quest. I know it may be extremely difficult to conclusively prove, but I am determined to, at the very least, establish whether or not this was a deliberate act of sabotage, striking at the very heart of the spirit of the competition. If there is a price to be paid, I shall look to ensure that it is paid.

"Additionally, if we do find any proof of foul play, we will bring this matter back to the FAPL without delay and will expect them to launch an immediate investigation in the interests of the integrity of the competition. We refuse to let this mar the [season's] achievements."

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