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Can Bournemouth legally fight their way back into the Premier League?

Can Bournemouth legally fight their way back into the Premier League?

Bournemouth’s relegation from the Premier League wasn’t hugely surprising. But the club’s board is planning a bold move to contest their demotion to the Championship.

The legal challenge will rest on the goal-line technology error that lead to Aston Villa drawing 0-0 against Sheffield United in June. This saw a Sheffield United goal disallowed that clearly crossed the goal-line.

Aston Villa stayed in the Premier League thanks to a late surge in results, and ended up just one point ahead of Bournemouth in the league table. If Aston Villa had lost their match against Sheffield United, they would have been equal on points with Bournemouth. But Bournemouth’s better goal difference would have kept them in the Premier League.

Bournemouth’s board will be meeting this week to see whether they want to pursue the legal action. While the club’s lawyers have yet to be given any instruction, it could be enough to make Aston Villa fans very nervous. 

Bournemouth’s case rests entirely on whether the Hawk-Eye technology used gives any claims of negligence to the appeal. Hawk-Eye quickly released a statement after the incident to say that it was the first time in over 9,000 matches that their technology has failed to work in a goal-line decision.

There’s a huge amount of financial pressure behind Bournemouth’s decision to pursue the legal action. The fact that the club would have a significant loss of revenue from not staying in the Premier League means that the Hawk-Eye could rightly be held accountable.

The original debate came up after Hawk-Eye stated that none of its seven cameras located around the football stadium were able to get an accurate view of the ball crossing the line. The line of vision for each of the cameras was significantly obstructed by either the goalpost, the goalkeeper or a defender.

While Hawk-Eye apologised to both Sheffield United and the Premier League after the error, few would realise how much it would cost Bournemouth nearly two months later. 

What made matters worse was the way in which the Cherries held such a spirited fightback against relegation in the closing games of the season. For a while, anybody with an offer from one of the bookmakers featured at might have backed Bournemouth to make yet another great escape. 

Eddie Howe’s team held Tottenham to a brave 0-0 home draw before putting in the comeback of the season by thrashing Leicester 4-1 at home. The Cherries were unlucky to lose a tough away match at Manchester City 1-2 in the penultimate game of the season. Bournemouth’s final chance came on the last game of the season where goals from Joshua King, Dominic Solanke and Junior Stanislas helped them beat Everton 3-1. 

But such efforts weren’t enough as Aston Villa managed to cling on to the single point in their 1-1 draw with West Ham. The result kept Villa in the Premier League, but it was the point gained against Sheffield United due to the goal-line technology error that will hurt Bournemouth.

It’s a particularly bitter blow for Eddie Howe who defied the bookies to keep the Cherries playing top flight football for five consecutive seasons. But with the Bournemouth board to meet to decide both his and the club’s financial future, it seems that the legal proceedings will be pivotal.