Plymouth manager Peter Reid (above) has to deal with a 10-point deduction imposed on his side

By Laurie Fitzgerald

Plymouth Argyle have become the latest team to face a points deduction after the club declared an intention to appoint an administrator.

The League One side have had to deal with a long-running battle with HMRC over unpaid tax bills, and as the notice of intention is deemed an insolvency event in Football League rules, they are punished with a 10-point loss.

It means that Plymouth now find themselves at the foot of the table, 8 points adrift from those outside the relegation zone.

But while rules are there for a reason, is it always necessary to always punish those that enter administration so heavily?

One of the main issues that led to the Football League introducing the points penalty was because many felt entering administration was an easy way out for those that had been unable to manage their club’s finances properly.

By having this punishment in place, it makes teams less willing to go through this process to get their club back on an even keel.

But nowadays, so many clubs file for this procedure because they have no other alternative; this is a last resort to help keep a club afloat.

For example, administrators will be employed to straighten out the financial issues as much as possible, with money being raised to pay off debts from the available assets, such as selling players and making staff redundant.

But after all of that is done and the club are allowed to exit administration, there is still the issue of finding investment so that the business can survive in the long-term.

The last thing that the Football League want to see are clubs going out of existence, but such heavy point deductions are not going to help struggling clubs do this.

Because of their huge deduction, Plymouth now face a massive task to stay in League One. How is this going to attract the investment they need?

Chester City are a prime example of a club that go in and out of administration because they cannot find the funds to survive in the long-term, while at the same time being given 10 and 20-point deductions.

This continual pattern eventually led to liquidation, and thousands of fans lost the club that they loved. This is not to say it will happen to Argyle, but having such a hefty punishment on the pitch is hardly going to help them move forward off it.

Of course, we cannot lose sight of the fact that those who enter administration deserve to be punished; they have been unable to run their club properly while so many other clubs are able to run theirs efficiently, and there is no excusing that.

But would it be impossible to judge each case on its merits? There can be a rule that allows points deduction of up to ten points, but this way the punishment can fit the crime.

A panel or review system could be put in place that studies the reasons for such drastic measures on a club-by-club basis, and then award them the punishment of between 3-10 points based on how necessary it was for them to file for administration.

This way, clubs are punished but on a fairer scale, meaning that teams aren’t always heavily affected by a points loss and therefore have a greater chance of finding investment that prevents them from ever going through such a procedure again.

As aforementioned, clubs that take administrative steps deserve punishment, but the Football League having a structure in place instead of one outcome for all could lead to fewer cases in the future.

So what do you think? Does the penalty for teams going into administration need to be reviewed? Would introducing a panel to analyse each case lead to more accurate punishments? Or do they all deserve to be considered just as bad as one another? Let us know your thoughts