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.