Blow for Sydney FC
Sydney FC is in danger of missing the A-League play-offs after it was docked three competition points for salary cap breaches.
Football Federation Australia has also decided to fine the club A$129,000 after it determined Sydney made an undisclosed payment to a player, there were pre-payments from the club to players, and payments made by the club to agents.
All should have been noted in the player contracts.
Sydney does not lose the points immediately and has seven days to appeal.
If the club chooses not to appeal, the points will be deducted next Friday.
The Sydney FC Board said it would have to do a "more extensive review" of its options before deciding whether to appeal.
Sydney currently sits second on the A-League table. A three-point reduction would see it slip to third place and just two points from dropping out of the top four and finals contention.
A report from FFA management was finalised on December 22 and a meeting of the FFA Board - not including chairman Frank Lowy and director Phil Wolanski - reviewed the findings and determined that Sydney FC had committed the multiple breaches.
The severity of the breaches warranted fines of A$259,000 plus a three competition point penalty, an FFA statement said.
However, in consideration of the cooperation and full disclosure provided by the current Sydney FC Board and Management to the FFA during the investigation process, the Board agreed to reduce the penalty to a A$129,000 fine plus two competition points deducted.
But Sydney FC will be deducted a total of three points, which comprises the two points for the most recent breach, plus the activation of a one-point suspended penalty handed down in August, 2006 for previous breaches.
Sydney FC also received a further suspended penalty of a one-point deduction which will automatically be invoked for any breaches in relation to seasons 2006/07 or 2007/08.
Sydney coach Terry Butcher, who was not involved with the club when the breaches took place, said this week he hoped this matter would be resolved quickly so he knew exactly how many points his men needed to make the finals.
Sydney travels to in-form Newcastle on New Year's Day in a crucial match for both clubs only four rounds out from the finals.