Football: Gritt backs legal campaign

Wednesday 09 April 1997 23:02

The Brighton & Hove Albion manager, Steve Gritt, has added his support to the club's decision to mount a legal challenge against the Football Association's deduction of two points.

Gritt, whose side are five points adrift at the bottom of the Third Division, insists the Seagulls feel an "injustice" has been done and that is why they have issued instructions to solicitors to start proceedings.

Brighton were docked points after a peaceful protest by fans in the game against Lincoln on 1 October when play was held up for 15 minutes in the first half.

Gritt said: "The players had earned those points and to find them suddenly taken away for something that had absolutely nothing to do with them we felt was harsh at the time. That is why we are going through this final phase. We still feel there was an injustice done."

Gritt believes the issue of Brighton's deducted points is playing a part in their desperate fight for survival.

"It is frustrating, " he added. "If we had had those two points back over the last month we would have actually got off the bottom of the League.

"We've been so close so many times over the last month also without taking it on that one step to move up a place. But the mood among the players is very good and they genuinely believe they do have a chance of escaping the drop."

Brighton have argued to the FA that it is the team that have been penalised for the points deduction when the peaceful pitch invasion was aimed at the club's directors and feel a fine would be more appropriate.

Liz Costa, of Brighton's official supporters' club, raised doubts whether there was enough time for the legal challenge: "The club could be in a position where it is relegated pending an appeal against an appeal, and I don't know if the FA will allow this to happen."

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