Blackpool have this week been hit with a £25,000 fine by the Premier League after fielding a weakened side against Aston Villa on 10 November.
The investigation began following their manager, Ian Holloway’s, decision to make ten changes to the side that played in their previous match, against Everton. On that occasion the Seasiders took a point at home in a 2-2 with the Toffees, while in their following match they narrowly lost out to Villa 3-2 after Welsh defender James Collins grabbed an injury time winner.
Holloway had previously threatened to resign from his post as Blackpool manager if action was taken by the Premier League. He later clarified the statement, saying that he would only consider his position at the helm of the Tangerines if Chairman Karl Oyston felt it would be in the club’s best interest.
Similar action was taken last year following Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Mick McCarthy also making ten changes to his side as they travelled to play the then Premier League Champions Manchester United. On that occasion it was held that a £25,000 suspended fine was appropriate by the Premier League.
Following the actions taken by Wolves last season Premier League officials brought the 25 man squad rule into place for this season. The rules state that a club must name a squad of 25 players from which it may pick its match day squad from. As well as this, clubs are also able to select as many youth team players as they wish, thus promoting the use of younger players within the league.
Holloway’s actions were far within the rules that the Premier League had set out, as all 21 players that he selected to start in the matches against Everton and Aston Villa were part of his 25 man squad. As a result likable Bristolian, who always wears his heart on his sleeve, was clearly displeased with the league’s decision to bring into question his match day squad selection.
Following the incident Holloway stated that “if some bright spark from the Premier League wants to tell me who I can pick then come and have a cup of coffee and you’ll probably get it chucked in your lap.” He followed this up by saying that it is “an absolute disgrace.”
Holloway, at the time that the Premier League first stated their intention to investigate his selection, questioned with he should have one training ground for his first team and then another for the “underlings” in his squad. Furthermore he questioned what impression that league’s investigation gave to his players that were part of the “weakened” squad, as it suggests that they are not good enough to be playing their trade in Premier League.
Blackpool have 14 days to lodge an appeal against the Premier League’s decision.