Forest sue over `lost' cup final

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The Independent Online
"Nottingham Forest must be shaking in their shoes," began the opening to one lengthy analysis of the Premier League Commission's inquiry into alleged transfer kick-backs.

Quite possibly. For the moment, however, Forest are less concerned about alleged corruption in their own backyard than in the pursuit of justice on another front, following the admission by the former president of Anderlecht that Forest were cheated out of a place in the 1984 Uefa Cup final.

In a situation unprecedented in its bizarreness, the club which Brian Clough shaped as a personal fiefdom is bracing itself for possible punishment over the so-called bungs affair, while simultaneously preparing legal action against Anderlecht with a view to claiming more than pounds 2m in compensation.

The club is anxious to retrieve potential income lost when the late Guruceta Muro, a Spanish referee whose business was in trouble at the time, allegedly accepted pounds 18,000 from Anderlecht to ensure that the Belgians, rather than Forest, reached the final.

The claim on the club's part will be based on the gate receipts and television payments generated by the two-leg final against Tottenham, which could add up to about pounds 1.5m. In addition, however, Forest have offered to act on behalf of former players and staff over compensation for bonuses and subsequent contract improvements.

Ironically, these could include Clough and his former assistant, Ronnie Fenton, who both came to the attention of the Premier League's bung inquiry.

"Everybody contacted so far has indicated that they are keen for us to act on their behalf," Phil Soar, Forest's chief executive, said, confirming also that no obstacles appear to exist in Belgian law that would make it difficult for Forest to sue successfully.