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Aston Villa’s top 4 quest continues at home to Burnley this Sunday and Gavin Beech previews the action.

Wolves have been handed a £25,000 suspended fine for fielding a weakened team in their Premier League match at Manchester United.

Manager Mick McCarthy caused controversy when he rested all 10 outfield players for the game at Old Trafford on 15th December, with a view to keeping them fresh for the upcoming meeting with relegation rivals Burnley.

However, the Premier League Board have imposed the £25,000 suspended punishment.

The Premier League said in a statement: “The Premier League Board has issued Wolverhampton Wanderers FC with a suspended £25,000 fine after deciding that the team fielded in their league fixture against Manchester United on 15 December 2009 was not full strength and therefore in breach of Rule E20.

“The board also deemed that the club had failed to fulfil its obligations to the league and other clubs in the utmost good faith and was therefore in breach of Rule B13.

“The board considered submissions from Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and had sympathy for the explanation submitted by the club in relation to similar cases from previous seasons. However the board ruled that this case could be differentiated from the other matches cited and that disciplinary action was warranted.”

McCarthy said: “I accept the Premier League’s decision. It was never my intention to break any of the Premier League’s rules, only to pick a team that was in the best position to get a result. I’m pleased the matter is now closed.”

The Premier League statement added: “In coming to this decision the board also wants to put clubs on notice that any future rule breach of this nature would be subject to a disciplinary commission that would have available a full range of sanctions.”

Wolves’ chief executive Jez Moxey believes the action of the Premier League will make other clubs think twice before fielding weakened sides in the future.

He said: “We are obviously disappointed but we respect the Premier League’s ruling especially as they have now used our case as a clear warning to all other clubs, some of whom have made similar changes to their teams in Premier League matches in the past, that this is not acceptable in the future.

“We made a detailed representation to the Premier League and pointed to those precedents involving other clubs in previous seasons.

“This ruling may now lead to a wider discussion regarding the issue of squad rotation and the Premier League’s rules.

“We look forward to fully participating in any such debate at future Premier League meetings.”

Aston Villa’s top 4 quest continues at home to Burnley this Sunday and Gavin Beech previews the action.

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