GUS POYET insists he is not a hypocrite and admitted he would understand if Sunderland were docked points after fielding the ineligible Ji Dong-won, although he has called for the Premier League to make its rules clearer.
On Wednesday night it was revealed that the Black Cats had been fined a six-figure sum by the Premier League for playing Ji without international clearance in five games at the beginning of the season.
The striker played in the defeats to Fulham, Crystal Palace and Manchester United as well as the draw at Southampton and the Capital One Cup win over MK Dons.
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Sunderland confessed once they had realised the error and the Premier League took action but decided against a points deduction.
The club released a statement yesterday in which they revealed that no issues were raised by any club during a Premier League shareholders meeting, but it is unclear whether that stance might change should Sunderland stay up by one point or less.
Although Poyet was not in charge of the Wearsiders when it happened, the Uruguayan has been involved in a similar incident before when Brighton lost to Hartlepool United, who had unknowingly fielded the ineligible Gary Liddle, in 2010.
Pools were subsequently docked three points, but at the time Poyet felt his team should have been awarded the win as well.
He said: “Had it happened in Spain, Italy or France or any other league in the world we would have automatically awarded the game either 2-0 or 3-0 – with no need for a decision from the league.’ “Here in England we have to wait for a decision. Then when that decision comes it is one which leaves the game in this country open to ridicule. In my opinion this is totally wrong.
“The points mean nothing to us, we are safe, we cannot be promoted, we don’t need the points.
“It is a matter of principle and for the sake of integrity of the Premiership, Football League or even the Football Conference or lower.”
The question has been raised as to why the Black Cat have not had points taken off their total, but even with the tables turned Poyet insists he would understand if the same punishment was dished out to Sunderland.
Asked if the Wearsiders should lose points given his comments in 2010, the Black Cats boss said: “I’m not saying should. I will understand, I said.
“Why I would understand when they wouldn’t give me the points. It needs to go always against me? That day they didn’t give me the three points that everybody in the world - I repeat, everywhere in the world – thought on that day Brighton would get the three points. Except in England.
“Now why would you go the other way? Now, in England you should give it to the opposition Southampton? Why? Why are you going to change it now? So now England is on this planet?
“It’s incredible. The rules should be clear. It should be one - clear. For me or against me, (it needs to be) clear. I still believe the same as I did then, I’m not going to change.
“If they are like me, yes I would (understand if clubs think we should be docked points). If they support Hartlepool at that time, they are hypocrites. I’m not. It’s a big difference isn’t it? You would have a manager here telling you ‘Oh no, rules are rules and we need to accept them’. Hypocrites. Me, I’m telling you the truth - the rules need to be clear.
“The words ‘may’ or ‘might’ in the rules in England, they are unbelievable. They give you a chance to do whatever you like. It shouldn’t be may or might. It should be boom, the rule. Yes or no. Then there is no grey are.”
Poyet revealed he was made aware of the situation upon his arrival at the club in October, but admits it was not his decision to keep the incident under wraps.
“I was aware of it when it happened and when we realised. I couldn’t believe it when I found out," said Poyet, who takes his side to Tottenham on Monday night. "The problem is, I’m very honest with the club. We didn’t know how long it would take and I had to inform the player.
“I asked permission after a certain time to inform the player because with all respect the player was probably thinking ‘What the? He’s not even picking me on the bench.’ He didn’t know, I had to tell him and he was incredible. You have to be a special player to do what Ji did. To train, wait, be available. Unbelievable.
“I don’t know (why the club did not say anything at the time. I don’t have a clue. It was not my decision. It is impossible to answer that, I didn’t even think.”