Crystal Palace Punished – Earth Stays Resolutely On Axis

Unless you’re the footballing equivalent of a fetishist, it’s going to be a long summer without the football, and the silly season has already started. Kaka – hilariously – might be going to Madrid (more on that if it actually comes to pass), and Manchester City have confirmed that the answer to all of their problems is Gareth Barry. And the close season is only four days old. Not to be outdone, the Football League has waded in with a story that seems set to cause ongoing ructions for the rest of the summer break, with the possibility of football being dragged back into the courtrooms again. Not really. What the Football League has actually done is dish out possibly the feeblest punishment ever given to a football club. The club concerned are Crystal Palace, who have been docked points and fined for the fielding of an ineligible player. So far, so good. There are plenty of clubs that have bitter experience of that particular double-whammy over the last few months or so. The Crystal Palace punishment, however, is different in that it will barely have any effect on them whatsoever. What happened was pretty straightforward. They brought on Portuguese striker Rui Fonte ten minutes into the second half of their final match of the season when his loan period from Arsenal had already been completed. They have been...

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