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Birmingham City: Accrington supremo’s comments should not be allowed during hearing

Birmingham City: Accrington supremo’s comments should not be allowed during hearing - Birmingham

Accrington Stanley owner and chairman, Andy Holt, has unleashed a Twitter tirade in relation to the Financial Fair Play (FFP) hearing currently taking place against Birmingham City.

He claims, in no uncertain terms, that clubs who are relegated, or miss out on promotion, due to a rival club breaching the FFP regulations, should be able to sue their counterparts in court.

His suggestion that civil action should be enforced on top of any sanction that may be applied by the hearing committee.

He compared FFP breaches to cycling, claiming that if a cyclist has been caught cheating, the next rider is moved up in the standings.

While his point may be valid, placing them in the public domain on social media opens the door to a further, ethical question.

Is it right that owners and chairmen of rival football clubs can make comments that could be seen to influence an investigation or hearing?

If this was an ongoing court case, the proceedings would be considered active. In such active cases, it is against the law to make public comments, whether in an interview or on social media, that may be seen as having a direct effect or impact on the case.

Breaching these laws can be considered as contempt of court, and is punishable under the 1981 Contempt of Court Act with a fine, or in some cases, up to two years in prison.

Now, although this hearing is not an active court case, and those laws do not apply, shouldn’t there be something similar in place for them?

The comments made by Accrington’s owner may well be legitimate, but is it right that he can say these things on a public forum, for all to read and see, while the hearing is taking place?

Surely his comments can only inflame an already lit powder keg, and could be seen as a deliberate attempt to ramp up pressure on those responsible for making the judgement and, if appropriate, imposing a relevant punishment.

It is time for guidelines to be put in place, ensuring prominent figures in footballing positions hold their counsel on situations like these until the verdict has been reached, and any potential appeal has been exhausted.

Here are Holt’s Tweets in full so you can judge for yourself:

What are your thoughts on Andy Holt’s comments City fans? Are his comments a concerted effort to make Birmingham a scapegoat? Let us know below…


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Article title: Birmingham City: Accrington supremo’s comments should not be allowed during hearing

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