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Cottagers continue legal fight


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Fulham have taken their fight to oust Sir David Richards as Premier League chairman to the Court of Appeal after challenging a High Court judgment for their dispute with him to be settled by arbitration.

Mr Justice Vos granted Richards and the Premier League a stay on the legal action taken against them by the Cottagers, who want the former removed for allegedly scuppering their bid to sign Peter Crouch in July 2009. But the judge also gave Fulham leave to appeal the verdict, which they confirmed they had done in a statement.

It read: "The High Court ruled that Fulham could not proceed by way of court action in respect of the matters complained of by Fulham in its Unfair Prejudice Petition, issued in April this year, against Sir David Richards and the Premier League."

The statement continued: "Although it ruled that Fulham must pursue its complaints by way of private arbitration under the Premier League and Football Association rules, the High Court also gave Fulham permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal, recognising that there was a previous High Court decision in another case that came to a different conclusion on similar issues, and that an important point of law was involved.

"Fulham intends to take its case to the Court of Appeal so that this important issue can be resolved in its favour."

In earlier granting Richards and the Premier League a stay, Mr Justice Vos said in his judgment: "The arbitrators will have adequate powers to deal with Fulham's complaint properly, fairly and satisfactorily, and it would be extremely desirable for all concerned if they were permitted to do so without further delay."

Richards' removal is one of two possible outcomes sought by Fulham, the other being a ban on his involvement in future transfers.

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They would technically be able to achieve either of those aims in independent arbitration proceedings but failure to convince the courts to hear their case would still be viewed as something of a setback.

The decision of any arbitration process is binding, although the club could still attempt to take the matter further if the verdict did not go their way.

Fulham are claiming that Richards interfered with their bid to buy England striker Crouch, who ended up joining Tottenham for £9million, £2million less than they were reportedly willing to pay.

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