THE Football League has confirmed Markus Liebherr’s takeover of Saints and that the club is now free to compete in League One this season.

The league’s board of directors today signed off on the deal, which was announced at lunchtime.

A statement issued this afternoon confirmed all the necessary formalities had been completed and the club’s share had been transferred back to them now Saints have exited administration.

That puts to bed any conspiracy theories that Saints would receive more than the ten-point deduction already imposed on them.

Football League chairman Lord Mawhinney said: "I would like to congratulate all those associated with the club that have helped to secure Southampton’s future.

"I would especially like to thank Saints' supporters for rallying to the club’s cause during one of the most difficult periods in its history.

"The League is delighted to welcome the new owners of Southampton Football Club to our competition.

"We appreciate the professionalism and commitment that they have shown during these negotiations.

"In particular, they should be commended for agreeing the deal in a very tight timeframe and for being the first potential purchaser to have everything in place to take the club forward."