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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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By ESPN Staff

Swans boss warns of 'war' over Leeds appeal

Swansea manager Roberto Martinez has warned 'a massive war' could be triggered if an independent tribunal overturns a 15-point penalty imposed on Leeds.

An arbitration hearing got under way behind closed doors yesterday in London where Leeds' lawyers are attempting to show the Football League acted outside their jurisdiction when docking the points at the start of this season.

If the sanction - imposed as punishment for allegedly breaking competition rules on insolvency - is overturned and Leeds are given all their points back, the consequences in Coca-Cola League One could be far-reaching.

Leeds would be thrust into the second automatic promotion place at the expense of Carlisle with three matches remaining.

Swansea, who celebrated automatic promotion last weekend with victory at Gillingham, would no longer be guaranteed their place in the Championship.

Martinez told the South Wales Evening Post: 'I think they may get some points back.

'But it would be unfair from a football point of view if their position in the table suddenly changed and, if I'm honest, I can't see that happening.

'Leeds are in a play-off position and I think they should stay in a play-off position.

'If anything else happens, you won't have heard the last of it because teams like Tranmere, Southend, Nottingham Forest, Doncaster, Carlisle and ourselves will all be affected.

'Everyone will take their own route and it would be a massive war.'

The tribunal could last for up to three days and while the ruling was initially expected to be made public before Leeds' clash at Millwall on Saturday, it is now anticipated it will be announced early next week.

Leeds were deducted 15 points before the start of this season for failing to exit administration via a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).

A majority of more than 75% of fellow Football League clubs then voted to uphold the sanction.

Leeds chairman Ken Bates had been forced to put the club in the hands of administrators last May due to debts of around £35million.

The club have denied any wrongdoing and agreed to an arbitration hearing after initially serving the Football League with a High Court writ.

Should the tribunal uphold the League's 15-point penalty, Bournemouth and Luton could start next season with a similar handicap after both recently failed to exit administration via a CVA.

Leeds currently lie sixth in League One, occupying the final play-off spot, four points better off than nearest challengers Walsall.