Football: Rovers set to take legal action in the hope of earning relegation reprieve

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First published in Sport
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BRISTOL Rovers have announced they will lodge a complaint against Wycombe Wanderers in a dramatic bid to hold onto their Football League status.

Wycombe, who stayed up after finishing ahead of Rovers on goal difference in League Two, were fined £10,000 last week for breaching FA rules over the sale of Matt Phillips to Blackpool in 2010 after they agreed to pay the agent through a future sell-on clause.

That charge was related to breaking rules regarding agents but Rovers allege Wycombe have also breached third party ownership rules by using the money they received from Phillips’ move to QPR last year to pay off debt to former chairman Steve Hayes.

A Bristol Rovers statement said: “It has come to the attention of Bristol Rovers FC that Wycombe Wanderers FC appear to have breached FA rules on Third Party Ownership.

“Its current chairman (Don Woodward), in giving evidence at a recent FA Disciplinary Hearing, appears to have admitted a serious breach in respect of the player, Matt Phillips (and possibly other players).

“The result of this led to Wycombe wrongfully obtaining a competitive advantage over Bristol Rovers.

“Without this, Wycombe rather than Bristol Rovers could have been relegated.

“Bristol Rovers were relegated merely on goal difference, and as the breach, if proven, would have almost certainly led to a points deduction, Bristol Rovers have instructed specialist sports lawyers together with Nick De Marco, a leading sports barrister, to draft and send a complaint to both The Football League and The Football Association.”

Wycombe insist they have no case to answer.

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