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Milne: Football League Must Stand Firm on FFP
Friday, 29th May 2015 12:50

Town managing director Ian Milne says the Football League has to stand firm and enforce the Championship's Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules. Recently-relegated QPR are challenging the legality of the rules, which limit the losses clubs are permitted to make in a season.

In March the West Londoners filed accounts showing a loss of £9.8 million during their 2013/14 Championship promotion season, however, they reached that figure by owner Tony Fernandes and other shareholders writing off loans of £60 million, a move which is believed to breach the FFP rules and which could see them facing a fine of £58 million.

Milne, a lawyer by trade, believes it’s important that the Football League remains resolute: “It’s got to be enforced. I think they’ve got to. The issue they’ve got is that they’ve got these regulations basically saying that if 75 per cent of clubs vote for something then that’s the new rule.

“If somebody challenges that and says that that’s the wrong thing to do it’s going to cut across not just Financial Fair Play but every regulation there is at the Football League.

“But also, and I was talking to [Norwich chief executive] David McNally about this, and he confirmed that the Premier League have got similar rules.

“So, if a court turns around and says ‘No, those regulations aren’t enforceable’, the whole thing’s going to collapse, not just for FFP but the whole shooting match.

“[Football League chief executive] Shaun Harvey was up here for the first leg of the Norwich game and they know they’ve got to fight it.”

He added: “Also, from a legal perspective, the rules seem perfectly sound and reasonable to me. If it was 51 per cent [then perhaps] but not 75 per cent of those voting.

“And you can’t say ‘We weren’t part of the league, therefore it doesn’t apply to us’. You can’t do business like that.”

While he suspects it's unlikely that clubs who refuse to pay fines would be excluded from the league, as has previously been suggested, he says other action could be taken.

“I would have thought a way of doing it, and it is within the remit, is to say ‘OK, we’ll let you play for the Championship but you will suffer a huge points deduction until you cough up. You will not get back in the Premier League’.

“I just wonder whether it might go that way, I’m sure they can do that if they wanted to. We all agreed to the rules and that’s where it is.”

Milne says Town continue to back FFP and will keep to its limits, which were reviewed and amended towards the end of last year, allowing greater losses from 2016/17.

“We’re not going to breach, we’re supporting it and will try and spend up to it,” he said.

The Blues MD admits that it’s frustrating when the club’s adherence to FFP is sometimes styled as owner Marcus Evans having stopped investing in the club or tightening the purse strings.

“People don’t understand really how the football club works,” he added. “It’s up to me and the media staff and Mick to say ‘Hold on, look at the quality of the team rather than how much it cost’.”

Does Evans feel that FFP to some extent limits his ambitions for the club? “Yes, he does but he also understands that the Championship in the long-term, as we stand at the moment with Financial Fair Play, and even with the new rules, isn’t going to be sustainable.

“Are there going to be owners there who are going to part with £5 million, £6 million, maybe £10 million or £12 million, which they would have to do, season in, season out?

“Long-term it doesn’t seem right that that would happen. You’ve got that side of it. But if an owner does come in they should have the freedom to spend.

“So, in some ways moving up from the £5 million or £6 million to £10 million or £12 million, which it will be going up to [under the amended rules], is reasonable if somebody wants to invest that sort of money.”

Photo: Action Images

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Jimmy86 added 12:55 - May 29
Yea coz let's be honest, if QPR don't get dealt with accordingly for blatantly ignoring the FFP regulations then we will have wasted the best part of 3 years following it so strictly!!

itsonlyme added 13:00 - May 29
There is only one thing that will stop clubs from breaking any rules - deduction of points. It is such a powerful weapon, I don't know why it is not used all the time!

ArnieM added 13:00 - May 29
Clubs that breach the FFP rules should be deducted points. Simple. This would soon gain adherence. The risk of relegation or missinv out on top 6 would hit harder. Really dont know why this is not used as a punishment.

Failure to adhere to FFP rules is only a step down from eventual administration ( as consequdnce of excessive spending), surely?

topguy added 13:15 - May 29
Look at the contempt they have look we have gone down and broke the rules but screw you we will still spend millions what a laugh, FIFA think the have issues I think a few quid to the FA will shut a few people up to let them do what they want nothing will change theres no point trying to be fair

NSL added 13:24 - May 29
Whatever happens I don't want ITFC to be at a competitive disadvantage because we adhere to the rules and other don't. However, the problem with the points deduction, you would have half of the teams starting the season with minus points and it would water down the integrity of the competition. Blatant on the field cheating yes, but points deductions on the basis of obscure and complicated financial regulations I'm not so sure it would be so easy . . . .

bracknell_blue added 13:26 - May 29
Well said, Mr Milne. Find some kindred spirits and keep reminding the FL at every opportunity. The QPRs of this world can not be allowed to keep getting away with it.

Slambo added 13:30 - May 29
I want to believe that the FA will enforce these rules, but they have shown themselves to be utterly spineless in such matters in the pat. Let's not forget that it was them (Greg Dykes et al) that rolled over and allowed the formation of the Premier League which, if we're being honest, is really the root cause of all the problems in the administration of the game today...

I reckon they'll make QPR pay the fine, but in tiny instalments over a long period, making the punishment completely pointless...


Surco72 added 14:09 - May 29
The FFP is a joke which cannot be enforced at any level , no football commitee can stop a man spending his own money on his football club ?
They said QPR would have a transfer embargo put on them as soon as relegated , they were signing players yesterday ? There is no written law saying a team will be docked points for not adhering to FFP as there is with going into administration so it cannot be enforced , all they can do is fine a team who are blatantly saying we do not care anyway because we have the money

chorltonskylineblue added 14:12 - May 29
Did anyone else notice that QPR signed two players from Swindon earlier this week for an 'undisclosed fee' (see BBC Sport: Are they doing this now in the hope that any sanctions won't be applied retrospectively?

Forest & Blackburn were prevented from signing new players (I think) for breaking the rules previously. Why isn't a ban placed on QPR now pending a decision?

Btw, I thought Luongo (see link above) was a cracking player on loan for us. He just needed time to develop, like previous loanees for us, e.g. Mark Noble, Andros Townsend, etc. He's still only 22.

Bergholtblue added 14:26 - May 29
Either we have the rules or we don't. If we do they need to be adhered to with clubs feeling a penalty for transgressing them.

QPR and Harry R knew what they were doing when then bought their way to the title and then stuck two fingers up when they got there. Well now they are back they should be hit hard to set an example to the rest of the League.

brittaniaman added 16:15 - May 29
Treat QPRs fine like most other fines, the longer they delay the payment, the fine goes up ?????? They should have been warned that this could happen !!!!!

jas0999 added 16:57 - May 29
It's a nonsense. Parachute payments for relegated teams makes it impossible for others to compete, not withstanding very few clubs actually bother sticking to it. You can't have some teams spending millions on players and others not. That can't be fair.

therein61 added 18:04 - May 29
Q.P.R Should be suspended from signing players(they have just spent £4 million for the 2 Swindon boys!!!) while their flagrant abuse of the the ffp rules(before promotion and banking heavily on staying up! to escape F.A punishment) and their legal action against the F.A is done and dusted, I totally agree that parachute payments should be stopped why get rewarded for failure!?, but then look at the millions paid to banking executives who have brought banks to their knees only for us tax payers to bail them out!!?? it is all wrong isn't it Mr Fernandez?????

Michael11 added 19:28 - May 29
FFP is the biggest pile of rubbish I've ever heard. QPR should be in administration, yet in the first week of being relegated they manage to spend £4m on two players! How is that fair on clubs like us? Look at Norwich for example, they were turning down bids of £5m+ for Nathan Redmond in the summer. If the Premier League weren't stuffing money up their back sides with parachute payments then they wouldn't be able to. I can't see how it's fair that relegated clubs are almost rewarded for failing in the top flight by being given so much money to try and get back up. It's just not fair on the teams like us who do it the proper way and get no rewards for it.

Cloddyseedbed added 19:54 - May 29
jas0999. I'm with you, parachute payments rewarding clubs for failure is not the way forward. Give that money to the rest of the lower league's with the aim to help football clubs keep in business. Too much money goes to just the Premiership and clubs that just drop out. It leads to inflated transfers, huge wages and inflated ego's. It's destroying the game for many clubs apart from the select few at the top of the premiership.

Tractamatt added 20:32 - May 29
It seems ffp is only actually fair to those that can afford it. Anyone else read about Darren Pratley signing from Bolton?

runningout added 21:02 - May 29
nothing against QPR, the rules have not exactly been concrete with FFP... The punishment will be like most fines in football... Pathetic

boysinblue added 21:06 - May 29
Hopefully those claiming Evans is being tight and lacked ambition in January etc realise that he's simply following FFP. We all know he's an ambitious owner and I for one think we're very lucky to have him.

Guthrum added 21:18 - May 29
Surco - They may not be able to 'stop a man spending his own money on his football club', but they can then bar his team from taking part in their competition (the Football League), or, at least, put very heavy conditions on them doing so.

Fernandes wants to play by his own rules? Fine. But let him set up his own league and see who else joins in.

ivegottheblues added 06:56 - May 30
The whole issue of 'money in football' is sickening. The FA in its own way are just as disreputable as FIFA. Parachute payments are patently unfair but serve to further the clique mentality which they are trying to protect. ( just look at Man Utd's long influence unde Alex Ferguson).
Sky's involvement & the creation of the Premier League was the worst thing to happen to lower league football - they would love to make it a closed shop with no promotion or relegation.
As Bob Dylan once said 'money doesn't talk , it swears' .
Unfortunately fans are quite happy when it buys success. Until they had billionaire owners the teams first & second in the prem were insignificant.

Pendejo added 09:45 - May 30
Point of order - FFP is the Football League NOT the FA

karls_dad added 09:52 - May 30
Lets be honest here, the whole thing is as corrupt as it can possibly be! Fair Play? now that is a joke,take our recent run up the A140, our team and club sticking to the rules, Total cost 110k, the other lot which shall remain nameless figures of around 120 MILLION in cost and value where bantered! , now where in gods earth does any form of fair play come into that equation? we did brilliantly well to get where we did but we all knew there was ever going to be one winner, hand on heart! the quality in the end shone through! sad but true!

britrim added 12:05 - May 30

bluesince84 added 14:22 - May 30
Just to add an alternative view to this. Im not against the money of relegated teas at all. If we went up, got our £120, then got relegated and £30-40 m or whatever it is per season after....would we be complaining. Most certainly not. I say good for those teams, have the money , enjoy it, spend it. If our supporters feel that strongly about it, then if we go up next season and come down the season after, by all means give the money away to struggling clubs......

Talbs77 added 14:31 - May 31
Personally I think this club hides far too much behind ffp.

If the club had of made the right signings in January when we were right up at the top of the league who knows.

I'm all for not putting the club's long term financial future at risk but as a season ticket holder forking out a lot of money, I don't think it's unreasonable for the club to demonstrate ambition as opposed to metaphorically, every seasons transfer policy being the equivalent of picking peanuts out of poo!

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