Doncaster may appeal if Leeds get points back

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DONCASTER will "consider all options" after an independent tribunal rules on the validity of the 15-point penalty imposed on Leeds by the Football League.

An arbitration hearing got under way behind closed doors yesterday in London where Leeds' lawyers are attempting to show the 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 games remaining, while several other clubs who could be affected also face an anxious wait for the verdict.

Doncaster are still chasing automatic promotion themselves and may be forced to settle for the lottery of the play-offs if the three-man tribunal panel rules in Leeds' favour.

Doncaster chief executive Dave Morris said: "We must wait, pending the decision of the appeal. We've not made any decision about what we would do until the tribunal's decision has been made public.

"If Leeds are given all 15 points back, we would have to look at the situation, as all the other clubs who have a chance of promotion will do. We would review our position then and, at this stage, are not sure what our options will be."

The tribunal could last for up to three days and while the ruling was expected initially 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). Chairman Ken Bates had been forced to put the club in the hands of administrators last May due to debts of around 35million.

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

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.