Queens Park Rangers stand out when you discuss EFL Financial Fair Play regulations as they were major news lately – Bournemouth, Leicester City, Hull City, Fulham, Nottingham Forest, Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers have all fallen foul themselves for various reasons. We can now add Birmingham City and Sheffield Wednesday potentially to the mix.

Why is this relevant to Aston Villa, well as we know we’re under the cusp of an FFP hole coming into play at the end of this season following our earlier spending and in amongst all the misinformed ‘just pay the fine’ nonsense (cue responses on the forum saying pay the fine!) this is real, and the consequences of a breach can’t be ignored.

A fine is one option, a transfer embargo is another. A points deduction and a follow through denial of promotion (or presumably even relegation) is even on the cards now should the EFL wish to punish us that way given the strengthened FFP regulations now in force.

Our FFP hole hasn’t gone away even though we’ve been taken over by Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens and they have a number of pretty pennies to rub together. Left-field options to get around that hole are available to them if they think of them. The alternative is and remains player sales.

Fans shouldn’t think this is no longer a problem, it might be scary for some to consider but Forest are the standout club to suffer an embargo under the old rules. Sheffield Wednesday have confirmed they are under a temporary embargo as I type. Birmingham City have some leeway this window but come January I believe they are embargoed fully as well – and their new owners could easily ‘pay a fine’ if that was the answer.

I’m sure there are more clubs, I don’t need to list every man and his dog to prove the point that ‘pay the fine’ is not the answer.

QPR stand out for obvious reasons, having been punished for their spending as they gained promotion into the Premier League, rather than settling, they argued and took it through the Courts. A few years later, judgements and appeals, they lost ultimately and settled before the final appeal came to fruition and the settlement sees them cough up £42million to the EFL and they accepted a transfer ban in the coming January window.

With QPR arguing to the hilt, the meantime saw other clubs charged have their own action stalled whilst a precedent of sorts was waited for. Whilst the Loftus Road outfit can’t be faulted for going the Court route – the FFP regulations attempt to close the stable door three years after the horse has bolted (and merely serve to protect those clubs who were capable of spending beyond their means previously), lawyers for the club will have taken note of the fact that a few settled in the meantime.

For example, Bournemouth agreed to pay in the region of £4.75million for their breach and Leicester settled at £3.1million despite previously arguing themselves. Others followed suit and left QPR as the lone knight fighting the good fight.

As previously alluded to, Aston Villa aren’t out of the mire owing to the takeover as there is an FFP hole to fill before the end of next season. Birmingham City have been given dispensation to make five signings only this summer – but the EFL weren’t happy..

The clear trend under the current rules though is a club, and by default, their fan base suffers for an owner pushing the boat but the team not quite making the grade.

The old cop out of course was gain promotion and two fingers were shown to the EFL, but now ably backed up by QPR’s settlement, the new rules in play remove that, as the determination of a breach takes place in March.

Ergo clubs can be docked points, they can be denied promotion and if that wasn’t enough the EFL have struck a deal with the Premier League where even if promotion is allowed upon a breach, the Premier League will actively chase alternative punishments dished out to ensure a club complies.

I’m sure that’s enough words to explain the background without getting too technical. But you know what – I agree with the theory of Financial Fair Play.

I just don’t agree with ‘dotard’ way it’s been implemented.

17 Replies to “EFL Chief Defends Financial Fair Play, Makes The Correct Point But Fails To Realise That’s Not What FFP Achieves”

  • The only reason FFP was ntroduced was to make sure that no one could muscle in to the top 5 clubs monopoly.anyone who thinks it was for any other reason is in cloud cuckoo land.

  • Yeah but it’s alright for premier league teams to spend big and muscle into the champions league.

  • I assume I’m being stupid but didn’t Man City owners make their other company pay a fortune for naming rights? Wasn’t their talk when Dr Tony was in dire straits of selling a staff car park? Couldn’t our owners just pay £50m to name that car park and then we’re sorted?

    • Was judged to be within ‘fair market’ value clauses within FFP. That’s not the phrase but I can’t remember it as I type. We could do exactly what you say, but we’d have to show that if it was a linked company to our owners, non linked companies would pay similar for the sponsorship (give or take). ie Man C’s initial stadium deal was something like £40m over ten years from memory, boosted to 60 or 80 I think without checking. Therefore, we might be able to do £20m in our position. But we could only do that for VP as a whole, not Bodymoor and certainly not a carpark as that would fall foul of the regulations to my understanding.

  • Where does all this money go? If the ffp want to make a difference and stop clubs overspending put a cap on all clubs to how much they can spend then it’s a level field for everyone no more stupid spending no more silly wages imagine that in the premier league as well

    • I believe grassroots football which might be code for Christmas parties if you’re a cynic.

  • How can deterring wealth owners into football be good for the game in the third biggest league in Europe…it Seems to me as the only people that gains is the football league after filling their coffers , it seems that we have democratic PREMIERESHIP and a Communist run Championship ..how can that be fair …how can it be fair for the top clubs to buy up all the young talent and loan them back to the lower clubs ..it seems as if the football authorities are curbing the natural progression of clubs outside of the prem and then allowing the top clubs to get star young players on the cheap because of that lack of progression is holding back clubs to be able to afford to keep those young players from staying until the price is right .is this fair play . And to relegate a club for trying to progress is not the way of a democratic country at all …it seems the PREMIERESHIP is getting to far up itself ..and needs the football authority to bring IT down to earth and not the rest of the tiers having a greater divide ,

    • I must say that why are you guys only moaning now your in the championship as us across the expressway have seen you spending millions after millions through the years even up until last season you spent in excess of 80 million.You now know and hope realise what the rest of us outside the prem have had to do year after year without a sugar daddy to bail us out.Even now it seems you have been bailed out again but your not a prem club anymore and have to abide to different rules.I wish you good luck for the season but please stop moaning as I feel you don’t realise how lucky you are or have been through the years

      • That’s a fair point. It’s just a food chain where the higher you are the bigger and more powerful you are. But the first comment is the right one – FFP was to stop anyone else joining the cartel of the top 5 or 6 English, and top 14/15 European clubs. The FA have been powerless to prevent it and are now toothless. The Premier League guys – Scudamore – control the money from TV and therefore control everything. Most schools are having to sell their playing fields – why can’t the FA find stuff like that ?

      • This isn’t new, we were one of the clubs to vote against FFP because of it’s design and the implications for football, but plenty of others clubs didn’t seem to notice that when it was introduced. FFP is a pet hate of all of us, this isn’t a reaction to coming under a tighter umbrella mate, I was hoping QPR would win, I just didn’t see how they could because the majority of clubs voted for it.

  • I totally agree with your article but would like to add a couple of extra points.
    Surely the long term result of clubs being fined for losing £39m over three years means that clubs that haven’t been in the Premier league for some years or ever are being castrated by the EFL, making it even harder to break into the Premier League.
    Eventually only clubs currently in the PL will be able to return as their parachute payments will get bigger and bigger giving them a false financial position outside the PL, this is surely a monopoly in the making where the big boys keep hold of their big pot of money to keep the “minnows” out.
    I my opinion there has to be a fundamental change to all leagues such as max wage in each division and come relegation tough luck for the players on Prem wages. This would stop the need for huge parachute payments to cushion the blow.
    I would also bring the courts into use for players refusing to play and demanding transfers, a contract is a contract and players, managers and owners should be forced to adhere to them in the eyes of the law just like everyone of us that are employed.
    The current system punishes the supporter yet the players can jump ship after relegation for massive wages and show no loyalty to the clubs and the people that really care.

    • The whole system is farcical , And the main problem is television money , the F F P is cutting very little ice compared to the ludicrousunfair parachute payment system , which is basically a cash cushion for failing clubs , the sooner football implodes on its self and gets back to where it was before this money obsession appeared the better , and the biggest laugh of all is ” players have a short career so they have to make lots of money quickly”, what a load of rubbish , these players who are robbing their own class dont have their arms and legs sawn off when they retire , they can always drive a wagon or work in a warehouse or work the land E T C , E T C , E T C , like the rest of us …………….. or maybe not .

      • Yup Para Payments are supposedly about protecting loss of revenue, ergo, non playing staff. They should be unable to use those funds on player transfers and relegation wage clauses should be part of the game full stop.

    • I thank you Tim. Yup, that’s a follow on issue with Para Payments as well as ultimately even bigger clubs at Champ level can’t compete on a financial basis as Para Payments will outstrip their baseline revenue for full trading. They can’t raise ticket prices to Prem levels as fans will stop going and be priced out and sponsorships can’t be as lucrative either by the design of the pyramid – so ultimately we’re talking a closed shop with the occasional Leicester surprise but it will be few and far between, especially as the big boys stockpile talent.

      Don’t forget to also factor in FFP (of separate regulations) have stipulations about how quickly wage levels can rise within a club as well, I don’t know too much on that score but I know WBA admitted their were on the line of the wage limit when they were relegated last season and I presume that carries punishments of its own. How that works for a promoted team at L1/2 level even if they have the ‘money’ within FFP debt to strengthen the squad, I can only imagine it serves as another block.

      It’ll take cleverer than me to sort the system though! There might be an unwritten structure for wages and contracts in the levels of the game, that leans on experience/performance etc, but I wouldn’t agree with a written one that protects clubs better from players. Bosman didn’t rebalance the power, it pushed it to the players from clubs, something needs to happen to find a better middle ground and a max 2 week fine with Gordon Taylor and the PFA wibbling about unfairness to a player who won’t honour his contract is not the way to go as you point to.

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