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Andros Townsend criticises uncertainty over Everton & Nottingham Forest points deductions



Luton Town winger Andros Townsend
Luton drew 1-1 with relegation rivals Nottingham Forest in their most recent Premier League fixture

Luton winger Andros Townsend says the uncertainty created by other Premier League teams’ points deductions for breaching financial rules “makes a mockery” of the top flight.

Everton have been docked six points – down from 10 after an appeal – while Nottingham Forest have appealed against their own four-point deduction.

Forest’s points loss meant they replaced Luton in the relegation zone.

Townsend said clubs battling the drop “don’t know what’s going to happen”.

Luton are now 17th in the table – one point and one place above Forest who dropped into the bottom three because of their points deduction.

However, the league table is potentially still subject to change given Forest’s decision to appeal, while a hearing into a second alleged breach by Everton is taking place this week.

The league’s rules state any appeals process should “conclude no later than and if possible some time before 24 May” – five days after the season finishes – although Forest’s case is set to be concluded before then.

Townsend said: “We don’t know what’s going to happen. Everton have got points back, Forest are appealing and may get points back, Everton may get more points [deducted] – who knows…

“It all may get wrapped up the week before the end of the season. It’s all nonsense to be honest.

“Psychologically, if you’re above the relegation zone, you’re thinking a point is enough to keep you above the relegation zone.

“Then a week later you’re back in the relegation zone because teams have got their points back.

“For me, it makes a mockery of the Premier League [and] what is the best league in the world.”

Everton were initially deducted 10 points in November – the biggest punishment in Premier League history – dropping from 14th to 19th in the table.

However, their sanction was reduced to six points on appeal, which lifted them up to 15th.

The Premier League table before (-10 points) and after Everton's appeal (-6 points)
The Premier League table before (-10 points) and after Everton’s appeal (-6 points)

Luton drew 1-1 with relegation rivals Forest two days before the latter’s four-point deduction was announced.

Forest said they were “extremely disappointed” with the decision, which “raises issues of concern for all aspirant clubs”.

An independent commission found the club’s losses to 2022-23 had breached the threshold of £61m by £34.5m.

The Premier League table before and after Forest's points deduction (-4 points)
The Premier League table before and after Forest’s points deduction (-4 points)

Timeline guide to ongoing Forest and Everton cases

15 January: Everton and Nottingham Forest are charged for breaches of the league’s profit and sustainability rules. The hearing has to be concluded within 12 weeks of this date, which is 8 April

8 March (approximate): Forest’s hearing takes place

18 March: Forest are docked four points and drop into relegation zone

25 March: Forest appeal is submitted

25 March: Everton’s hearing is taking place this week

1 April (UK Bank Holiday): The seven-day deadline for a response to Forest’s appeal

8 April (approximate): ‘Directions hearing’ to set a date for an appeal hearing, which will last between one and three days and conclude no later than 24 May. It is likely to be much earlier in Forest’s case

19 May: The final day of the Premier League season, when Forest travel to Burnley and Everton visit Arsenal (16:00 BST)

24 May: The latest possible date for an appeal hearing into either the Everton or Forest cases to be concluded

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Paris Olympics 2024: ‘Unprecedented’ security operation will be in place, says Games chief



Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet says the Games will protected by an “unprecedented” security operation, and that preparations are “in good shape”.

But with 100 days until the start of the Olympics, he said organisers will “keep some humility, because we know in this kind of event anything can happen in the last stretch”.

Estanguet added he was “very satisfied with where we stand at this moment”.

He told BBC Sport: “My message is you can have confidence with this event.”

Amid mounting concerns over safety, Estanguet said “I would like to reassure that it’s non-negotiable. Security is the priority.”

“It’s the biggest event that France has ever organised, and we want to showcase the best of France. So definitely we are determined to be ready.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the world in Paris.”

“When I discussed this with [London 2012 chief] Seb Coe, he told me…in the last 100 days, there will be more criticism, more people worried. It’s exactly what is happening. My role is to remain calm, remain focused on what is very important to deliver.

“The venues are ready, the budget is balanced. We have very good ticket sales, the level of ambition is very high.”

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Deontay Wilder: Ex-WBC world champion confident of Anthony Joshua fight



Former WBC world champion Deontay Wilder tells BBC Sport he is “90%” sure a fight with Anthony Joshua will happen in the future, as he prepares to face Zhilei Zhang on 1 June.

READ MORE: Wilder says Joshua fight will be revived with big win over Zhang

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Taulupe Faletau: Wales number eight set for Cardiff return



Taulupe Faletau back in training with Cardiff
Taulupe Faletau has played 14 games for Cardiff after joining from Bath in 2022

Cardiff and Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau is set to return to action after a six-month injury lay-off.

Faletau, 33, suffered a broken arm in Wales’ World Cup victory against Georgia in Nantes in October 2023 before missing this year’s Six Nations with a calf injury.

The British and Irish Lions Test star has since returned to Cardiff training.

Faletau is available for the United Rugby Championship (URC) trip to face Ulster on Friday night.

Faletau, who has played 104 times for Wales, returns to action with the summer tour to Australia on the horizon.

Head coach Warren Gatland has lost senior figures in Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, George North, Dan Biggar, Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb to international retirement in the last 12 months.

In Faletau’s absence, Cardiff back-row duo Alex Mann and Mackenzie Martin have been capped by Wales, while Aaron Wainwright has filled the national number eight role.

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