It looks like it’s going to messy at the foot of the Premier League this season.
Sunderland’s incredible march towards safety this season is set to land the Black Cats in court as the Wearsiders looked destined to beat the drop from the Premier League.
Back at the start of April an incredible story hit the newswires that Sunderland illegally fielded the ineligible Ji Dong-Won in five matches this season.
The Sun’s Charlie Wyett broke the story, revealing:
Sunderland have been secretly fined for fielding an ’ineligible’ player FIVE times despite raising the cock-up themselves with the Premier League.
SunSport can reveal the Mackems played Ji Dong-Won in four top-flight matches, one of which earned them a point against Southampton.
22-year-old South Korea striker Ji joined Sunderland in 2011 before being sent out on loan to German club Augsburg last season. According to fresh revelations, when Ji returned to the Stadium of Light the Black Cats needed to receive international clearance before the forward could play again. That clearance never came.
The whole incident is said to have come to light after random drug testers exposed the Sunderland foul-up.
The FA’s rule book states that in such scenarios of fielding ineligible players, clubs shall be sanctioned with a points deduction. That, for some reason, hasn’t happened on this occasion.
Fast forward to the present day, and a legal case from Norwich, Cardiff and Fulham appears to be in the offing.
The Premier League is facing the possibility of a legal battle with three of their own clubs after it emerged that Cardiff City, Norwich City andFulham have joined forces and instructed lawyers to fight the controversial decision not to dock Sunderland points for fielding an ineligible player.
The Observer can reveal that the first steps have been taken by a self-appointed “Gang of Three” to initiate proceedings about the way Sunderland were let off with a six-figure fine despite fielding Ji Dong-won in four league games, spread over seven weeks, earlier this season. Norwich and Cardiff have enlisted Fulham’s support to challenge the league, and a legal letter has been sent on behalf of the three clubs arguing that the offence was serious enough to merit a points deduction.