Pompey points deduction leaves Grant at crossroads

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Football News

Avram Grant reflected on a "sad day for football" after confirmation of Portsmouth's nine-point deduction for going into administration all but relegated the club from the Barclays Premier League.

He also revealed he would meet the players on Friday before deciding how best to tackle the remainder of the season.

Administrator Andrew Andronikou has confirmed Portsmouth would not appeal against the ruling, formally imposed after HM Revenue and Customs dropped their challenge to the club going into administration.

The deduction virtually guarantees Pompey - FA Cup winners in 2008 - will be playing in the Coca-Cola Championship next season.

Grant said: "Even though the writing was on the wall a long time ago and I tried to tell everybody we would do our best, for me, this is a sad day."

The Pompey boss continued: "It is also sad for the Premier League that this has happened for the first time in its history to what is the best league in the world. A football decision has not been decided on the pitch, it has been decided in an office somewhere, and that is wrong.

"What is Portsmouth? The people now, or before? That is the question.

"What they have done with this decision is not punish the people who did something wrong, so now the people who come along next time will think 'okay, I can go away to my house and they will punish the fans and everybody who came after. This is not good.

"Do you think this decision will be a warning to the next ones who want to do something wrong? I do not think so."

Grant must now gauge the mood of his squad ahead of Saturday's clash with fellow strugglers Hull. Pompey still have an FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea at Wembley to look forward to, but may lack motivation for what are essentially meaningless league matches.

Indeed, Grant refused to rule out fielding weakened sides should he feel the players are not fully focused, perhaps contemplating their own futures away from the club next season.

"I cannot tell you anything about the future. I will talk with the players about it tomorrow, and we will make a decision, and go from there," said the Portsmouth manager. "It is not easy, because we still believed that even with all the difficulties we could fight against relegation, because Portsmouth did that a few years ago. Now, we need to think about everything."

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