“The Premier League have now established that no one can ever be docked points unless a club goes into receivership and then it’s an automatic ten-point deduction,” Whelan told the Times.
“The rules are the rules and if this breach doesn’t merit the docking of points, then let’s make it clear – nothing does.
“That’s fine by me. Let everyone be treated the same, I say. A precedent has been set.”
As bitter a “fine by me” as you’ll ever find. Conspiracy theorists will argue that West Ham, as a club from a major market (London) and with greater financial clout for the near future, are far more valuable to the Premiership than a club like Wigan. A points deduction would have cost the Hammers their status in the top flight, so they got away with an incredibly expensive slap on the wrist.
But Whelan’s right about precedent and, while we doubt that smaller clubs will risk violating transfer rules just because West Ham appear to have got off lightly, clubs who can happily eat a humongous fine like Chelsea – already in the news previously for dodgy transfer conduct – may see it as another loophole ripe for leaping through.