Premier League confident legal challenge against ineligible Sunderland player will fail
Any legal challenge that Fulham, Cardiff City and Norwich City may file to try and reverse the Premier League’s decision not to dock Sunderland points for fielding South Korean international Ji Dong-Won will likely fail, says The Guardian‘s Louise Taylor.
This past weekend it emerged that the so-called ‘Gang of Three’ sent a legal letter to the Premier League arguing that its decision to fine Sunderland for playing Dong-Won in four matches when he lacked international clearance, rather than dock the club points, was not serious enough punishment.
The theory is that a points deduction could mean that Sunderland - currently 17th place, two points above the drop, with two matches to play - would be relegated rather than the next closest side, currently Norwich City in 18th place.
According to Taylor, however, there are numerous reasons why the Gang of Three’s legal challenge will fail.
First, there is no Premier League appeal mechanism meaning that if the Gang of Three is to proceed it will have to be by suing the governing body, a process unlikely to conclude before the new season begins in August.
Second, Premier League rules are more lenient than lower leagues. This decreases the weight afforded to arguments citing points deductions assessed to clubs like AFC Wimbledon, the League Two outfit that was recently docked three points for fielding an ineligible player.
Third, there’s little to no evidence of Sunderland’s wrong doing as Dong-Won was officially registered with the Premier League and Football Association as part of Sunderland’s match day squad and the reason why he lacked international clearance was due to a clerical error on an online FIFA form, a mistake Sunderland insists was not it’s fault.
Finally, no one would have noticed the error but for Sunderland’s decision to immediately put the Premier League on notice.
Feels like more tough luck for the Gang of Three.