Wrong people have been punished, claims Grant

Portsmouth manager says players and fans suffered but blame lies elsewhere

Avram Grant reflected on a "sad day for football" after confirmation of Portsmouth's nine-point deduction for going into administration all but relegated the club from the Premier League – and he revealed he would meet the players today before deciding how best to tackle the remainder of the season.

The administrator, Andrew Andronikou, has confirmed that Portsmouth would not appeal against the ruling, formally imposed after HM Revenue and Customs dropped their challenge to the club going into administration.

The deduction virtually guarantees that Pompey – FA Cup winners in 2008 – will be playing in the Championship next season as they now have just 10 points, 14 behind second-from-bottom Hull who they face at Fratton Park on Saturday.

By then Grant will have gauged the mood in the squad, which still has an FA Cup semi-final against Fulham or Tottenham at Wembley on 11 April to look forward to, but which may lack motivation for what are now essentially meaningless matches.

Indeed, Grant refused to rule out fielding weakened sides should he feel the players are not fully focused, perhaps contemplating their own futures away from the club next season.

"Even though the writing was on the wall a long time ago and I tried to tell everybody we would do our best, for me, this is a sad day," Grant said. "It is also sad for the Premier League that this has happened for the first time in its history to what is the best league in the world.

"A football decision has not been decided on the pitch, it has been decided in an office somewhere, and that is wrong. What is Portsmouth? The people now, or before? That is the question. What they have done with this decision is not punish the people who did something wrong, so now the people who come along next time will think 'OK, I can go away to my house and they will punish the fans and everybody who came after'.

"This is not good. Do you think this decision will be a warning to the next ones who want to do something wrong? I do not think so."

Grant intends to give players, such as England goalkeeper David James, the chance to air their views after tomorrow's training session. "I cannot tell you anything about the future. I will talk with the players about it tomorrow and then we will make a decision, and go from there," said Grant. "It is not easy, because we still believed that even with all the difficulties we could fight against relegation, because Portsmouth did that a few years ago. Now, we need to think about everything."

Grant added: "Football needs to be decided on the pitch. You need to give all of the teams an equal chance, which we did not have in this case. The decision was taken a long time ago that Portsmouth would not stay in the Premier League, for one reason or another. Do the people who have now been punished deserve it? The fans do not, they did nothing wrong. They players have always tried to do their best for the team in difficult circumstances."

Pompey could do the other sides in the relegation dogfight a huge favour by beating the struggling Tigers, who this week replaced manager Phil Brown with Iain Dowie.

Grant, though, insisted: "We do not have a duty to the other teams – the Premier League has a duty to the other teams. We have a duty for Portsmouth. We tried everything in the last month to keep what I think the spirit of football is about. I do not see any reason why we should not do that even when we do not have a target.

"If we had given up before, people would not have thought that was good for the Premier League. We need to hear what the players think about what we need to do from now on."

Israeli coach Grant, 54, admits he is unchartered territory. The former Chelsea manager added: "For me, it is a new situation. It is the first time in the history of the Premier League this has happened, so I cannot use other people's experience – I cannot make a call to [Sir] Alex [Ferguson] or Arsène [Wenger] and say 'what did you do in this situation?' Nobody knows how to deal with it."

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
i100
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
Arts and Entertainment
A shared vision: Cerys Matthews has been familiarising herself with Dylan Thomas’s material, for a revealing radio programme
arts + entsA singer, her uncle and a special relationship with Dylan Thomas
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster