Blackpool FC's Fine: The Premier League's £25,000 Wrongful Shaming

28 January 2011

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway. (Credit Image: © Action Images/
When the Premier League adopted the policy of registering a 25 man squad plus youth system products, I thought the days of hearing about the Premier League fining teams over weakened squads were over. On Thursday, I was proven wrong, when Blackpool FC were fined 25,000 pounds for fielding a weakened side in their 3-2 loss at Aston Villa on November 10th.

I have to admit right off the top that my feelings on Premier League Rule E.20 changed from last season to this. Last year, with no squad caps, I felt the suspended fine Wolverhampton Wanderers got was about right. I know it sounds stupid, but at the time, I felt with no caps in place, one had to justify making so many changes. With no limits to how many players you could have registered, you should have already known who your best players were to play. If you strayed too far from that, the Premier League had a right to slap you in line.

The problem was, that wasn't being applied on a consistent basis.
  • On consecutive weeks in 2007, Liverpool fielded weakened sides in losses to Portsmouth and Fulham. The Premier League did nothing.
  • On the last day of the season in 2009, Manchester United, in preparation for their UEFA Champions League match with FC Barcelona, fielded a weakened side against Hull City. While Manchester Untied won, the Premier League did nothing.
  • On December 15, 2009, Wolverhampton Wanderers fielded a weakened team against Manchester United. The Premier League decided to take action and give them a suspended 25,000 pound fine.
When the rules changed this year, Premier League rule E.20 should have become yesterday's news. When teams registered their squads, and were approved by the Premier League, they gave teams their permission to play any player on that registered squad. Blackpool's team sheet that day did not have one player not registered on their 25 man squad. As they did all season long, they played one of the more entertaining games of the round. If it wasn't for their naivety they had shown in the early part of the season, the same naivety they showed on Tuesday against Manchester United, they would have earned a share of the spoils that day.

Ian Holloway was right in all the post-match interviews in saying he didn't feel he needed to justify his squad choices that day. They were registered players, approved by the Premier League when the squads were due, and they did not damn the Premier League in how they played. Most teams in the league could take a lesson in how Blackpool have played this season. They've played balls to the wall, without fear of losing. Every one of their performance, save their September 19th defeat at Chelsea, has been a breath of fresh air.

Everything about this fine Blackpool have received just reeks of political BS within the Premier League. Last season Wolverhampton Wanderers did the same thing, and their fine was suspended. Blackpool's punishment was worse. Now had the Premier League said this fine was because of Holloway's comments to the media once the game was over, I could understand that. However, to say it was because of the squad they fielded is unacceptable to me.

With the new squad restrictions in place, the Premier League needs to eliminate rule E.20 from their laws in time for next season, apologize to both Wolverhampton Wanderers and Blackpool FC, and rush Blackpool's obvious appeal through the system and over turn it. At least overturning the fine would make a good first step.


toddmintz January 30, 2011 at 10:07 AM  

So in American Dollars we are looking at about $40,000.00. Any amount is not acceptable because the rules in place are supposed to basically send a message, play whoever you want. What bothers me more is watching a mess of 2nd and 3rd stringers play Carling and FA CUp Ties. A club like Blackpool or anyone for that matter has a lot of good places they could put in 40k even in Grass Roots stuff

Chairman May 24, 2011 at 6:29 PM  


Check out my blog @

About This Blog

Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

Get In Touch

If you have any questions regarding content on the blog, wanting to write on the blog, or to potentially advertise on the blog, email

Donate to The Third Half

  © Blogger template Leaving by 2008

Back to TOP