Almeria forced to wait on three-point La Liga deduction
Almeria will not learn whether they are to be docked three points by FIFA for a transfer irregularity until next Tuesday, meaning the team could save themselves from relegation on the pitch this weekend and then be forced down by a legal ruling three days later.
In early March, FIFA announced that the Liga club were to have the three points removed from this season's tally as punishment for the late payment of a relatively small sum due to Danish club Aalborg relating to the transfer of defender Michael Jakobsen in summer 2012.
The Andalusian club quickly announced they would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport -- and on the pitch continued to battle for the points needed to avoid relegation, without knowing when CAS would rule on the case.
Ahead of next Saturday's final round of Primera Division fixtures, only bottom-side Cordoba are sure to finish in the bottom three. Almeria and Eibar both have 32 points and must win to move out of the drop zone, while Granada, on 34 points, and Deportivo La Coruna, also on 34 points, have their destiny in their own hands.
The weekend's final games will now go ahead however knowing that the last word will not come on the pitch, after Almeria released a statement saying that a CAS session on Wednesday had heard evidence on all sides but would not make its ruling until next Tuesday.
"The Court of Arbitration for Sport [CAS] will not rule until next week on the punishment FIFA have imposed on UD Almeria, to dock three points for the late payment of €4,500 in interest on the solidarity payment for Michael Jakobsen," the statement said.
"This Wednesday at CAS' base in Lausanne, representatives of the three parties involved expressed their arguments in front of the court, in a session lasting more than two and a half hours. Almeria has asked the CAS to hear its evidence and also presented the verdict of the TAD [Spain's Sports Administration Court]. The club also asked for an injunction and the suspension of the punishment."
Jakobsen joined Almeria from Aalborg in 2010, initially on loan, and spent two years at the Estadio Juegos Mediterraneos, before leaving for FC Copenhagen in 2012.
The €4,500 sum is an interest payment on the extra fee of €50,000 due to Aalborg for developing the player. Almeria admit to paying this sum three days late due to a banking issue, but claim FIFA's punishment is disproportionate.
The CAS ruling on Tuesday may not be the final word on the 2014-15 season, as reports say that Getafe and Elche remain in danger of being forced down at least one division due to financial issues.
Both Getafe and Elche have walked an economic tightrope this season, being forced by La Liga's authorities to take moves to meet the financial fair play rules introduced to try to ensure clubs do not gain an unfair advantage by not paying their debts.
The Madrid and Valencia-based outfits are currently safe in lower mid-table, mathematically above the drop zone, but Marca says that the Liga authorities are considering what action to take as each owes significant sums to the Spanish taxman.