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Fulham launch legal action against league chief

Fulham have demanded the removal of Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards after launching legal action against him in relation to his involvement in the transfer of Peter Crouch to Tottenham.

The Cottagers believe Richards interfered with their bid for then Portsmouth striker Crouch, leading to the England international joining Spurs for a £9 million fee - £2 million less than Fulham had offered.

An inquiry was launched into Richards' involvement but there was found to be no impropriety on his part, a decision that was vehemently opposed by Fulham.

Richards has accepted that he did speak with Portsmouth's then chief executive and friend Peter Storrie but denies he sought to assist Spurs over Fulham.

The Guardian published the contents of an e-mail sent round to all member clubs by Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore this week, in which he revealed Fulham's decision to launch legal action against Richards.

"Fulham are asking the court to order an injunction restraining the chairman [Richards] from taking any role in the transfer of players or, alternatively, that the court remove the chairman from the board of the Premier League," the e-mail said.

"The inquiry concluded the chairman's actions had not been detrimental to Fulham, and that it was not inappropriate for the chairman to assist in such matters when requested to do so by a club.

"The claim is that Fulham have been unfairly prejudiced in their capacity as a member of the Premier League, as a result of alleged assistance provided by the chairman to Portsmouth in securing the transfer of Peter Crouch to Tottenham Hotspur in August 2009."

Richards will bitterly contest the allegations and is considering legal action of his own. If he were to be removed it could have serious for ramifications for his other football interests, which include positions as vice-chairman of the FA, chairman of Club England and member of the FA's international committee.