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By ESPN Staff

Saints confident after independent inquiry ordered

Southampton remain confident of avoiding a 10-point penalty after the Football League called for an independent report into the club's financial position.

The League met on Tuesday to discuss whether Saints should be punished after their parent company, Southampton Leisure Holdings, called in the administrators last week.

Saints believe they should avoid the penalty which has been dished out to other teams who have fallen into administration - such as Leeds, Darlington, Bournemouth and Luton - because the club itself is not in that position.

A statement from the League read: ''The League Board has instructed its legal advisors to commission an independent forensic accountancy report in order to clarify the legal and financial position of the club, as a matter of urgency.

''The Board will reconvene once that report is available.''

And in response, joint-administrator Mark Fry said: ''Subject to the scope of the report we welcome the Football League's initiative in commissioning an independent report into the legal and financial position of the club ahead of any decision being made on the possibility of a 10-point deduction.

''In our view this indicates the situation will be reviewed thoroughly and independently ahead of any decision made. We are confident of a successful outcome because in our view no rules have been breached.''

In exploiting the loophole, Southampton have left the League in a difficult position.

The south-coast club, who are looking for a buyer amid fears they will fold before the end of the season, could take legal action if they are deducted points.

Should they escape, however, the League are likely to face a backlash from other clubs in the Championship relegation battle.

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