Following the news that Birmingham City have been docked points, we take a look at five other famous instances when clubs have had points deducted.
One of the most famous footballing scandals of all time unfolded in 2006 when wiretaps, put in place by the Italian police, implicated several top Italian clubs in match-fixing.
In murky scenes that wouldn’t have looked entirely out of place in The Godfather, officials from AC Milan, Fiorentina, Juventus, Lazio and Reggina were accused of colluding to tactically influence which referees would be officiate their matches. The clubs were accused of trying to select the refs who they believed were more likely to act favourably to their club.
At the conclusion of the investigation, Juventus had their Serie A title stripped away, were relegated and forced to start the following season with a 15 point deduction. AC Milan were deducted a combined total of 38 points across two seasons, Fiorentina were docked 15, Reggina had 11 points taken away and Lazio were penalised three.
The fallout was further reaching still though, with several of the accused individuals sent to prison and many more given extended bans from football.
It’s hard to believe that it has been 15 seasons since Leeds last played a Premier League match. Many young fans wouldn’t realise that, as recently as 2004, Leeds were one of the biggest clubs in the country.
Leeds’ fall from grace was startling. Having finished third in the Premier League in the 99/00 season before reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League the following year, Leeds found themselves starting the 2007/08 season with a 15 point deduction in League One. So how did it happen?
Former chairman Peter Ridsdale entered Leeds into voluntary administration in May 2007 with the club riddled with debt after lavish overspending. They were, by this point, mired in a relegation battle and the ten point penalty they subsequently received relegated them to League One.
Ken Bates, former owner of Chelsea, purchased the club but, due to breached rules on entering administration, they were deducted a further 15 points before the following season had even begun.
The decline of Portsmouth is perhaps the most dramatic individual case of all.
In 2008, with Harry Redknapp in charge, Portsmouth’s flamboyant spending in the transfer window saw them claim the FA Cup in addition to an eighth place finish in the Premier League. Soon after his triumph, Redknapp departed and was replaced by Tony Adams who in turn left after 16 games citing a lack of financial support.
The ghosts of Portsmouth’s spending were coming back to haunt them and in 2009, with Portsmouth bottom of the league, it emerged that players and staff hadn’t been paid. By February they had entered administration and, despite once again reaching the FA Cup Final, were relegated from the Premier League.
A Russian banker called Vladimir Antonov seized control of the club in 2010 but, little over a year later, had a European arrest warrant issued for him after a Lithuanian bank he had been associated with collapsed. With HMRC pursuing the club for unpaid taxes, Portsmouth entered administration for a second time and were docked ten points, confirming their relegation to League One.
The misery didn’t stop there unfortunately. The entire squad left upon their relegation and Portsmouth endured a similarly horrendous following season which resulted in a second consecutive relegation. It was the first time that they had played in the fourth tier of English football since 1978.
Rangers’ downfall matched that of Portsmouth in terms of scale but was nowhere near as drawn out.
Another club wrestling with a giant tax bill, estimated to be around £49 million, they were sold to Craig Whyte for a nominal fee in 2011.
Whyte had a chequered financial past though and, after a court order was brought against the club, their assets were partially frozen. The tax dispute was eventually wrapped up but Rangers filed for administration shortly after. A ten point deduction was to be the tip of the iceberg.
Rangers were estimated to owe around £130 million and, after much wrangling between the administrators and their creditors, were eventually liquidated.
The club resurfaced under a slightly different name but, as they were technically a new company, were forced to begin again in the Scottish League Two. It was effectively a relegation to the fourth tier and kickstarted an extended period of dominance for bitter rivals Celtic.
Finally a story with a happier ending.
Palace slipped into administration for the second time in 2010 and with a ten point deduction enforced, things were looking bleak.
Having started the season brightly, the Eagles were suddenly plunged into a relegation battle which they eventually survived on the final day owing to a draw with Sheffield Wednesday.
The more profound battle was still to come though. With the future of the club hanging in the balance, Palace found themselves hours away from liquidation owing to an impasse in negotiations between their creditors and the administrators. Fans protested outside the headquarters of Lloyds in London, furious at the club’s imminent demise but they were saved at the last minute by a consortium fronted by current chairman Steve Parish.
Having survived relegation and liquidation by the skin of their teeth, the club were subsequently promoted back to the Premier League two seasons later.