QPR and Malaga Are UEFA’s Whipping Boys in Financial Fair Play: Monday Soccer Insider

The report in the Mail on Sunday newspaper that QPR could run afoul of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play standards and face a fine in the £60 million range is no surprise. Harry Redknapp has a history of pushing clubs beyond their economic means and, in QPR’s case, he took an already bad situation and made it unsalvageable. This having been said, the efforts of UEFA to crack down on the likes of QPR and La Liga side Malaga is reducing competition and helping to solidify the hegemony of the largest clubs in Europe.

QPR and Malaga were never going to challenge the established order, yet their ability to spend and attract players is thanks largely to money and geography (West London and the Costa Del Sol). Football’s authorities should be made to answer why a club like Malaga is slapped around by UEFA while established clubs are able to run up huge debts and spend at will.

Let’s take West London for instance. Chelsea’s commercial revenues will always outpace Fulham’s whose will likely always outpace QPR’s whose revenues will always outpace Brentford’s. So what we then have is a pecking order, a virtual caste-system of haves and have nots in one area of one European capital reinforced by the official rules of UEFA. Incentive for investors to buy smaller clubs and pump money into the club, and by extension money into football, will dry up.

Why would non-local investors want to get involved in a club that is in the second-tier of English football or a lower-tier Spanish club if they are being effectively forced to stay in place by football’s governing bodies? It is nice to be romantic about the need for community teams and local ownership, as well as idealistic goals for owners. I would like view the football world this way also, but I also believe in competition, investment to grow the game and allowing the little guy to have a chance to live the dream within reason.

I thought Malaga getting within a dodgy call of a semifinal berth in the UEFA Champions League last season was a wonderful story for the sport. Romantics should have indulged in the deep run and good fortune of a non-traditional club and the rewards it gave their long suffering supporters. Obviously the authorities disagree with this sort of romanticism.

Certainly there should be rules that prevent another Leeds United or Portsmouth from happening. But the way UEFA’s Financial Fair Play is constructed is too much of a giveaway to large clubs. I was hopeful the implementation of rules would carry some common sense but after the Malaga ban and potential QPR punishment, it is obvious common sense has gone out the window.

On the international scene, the short knives are out for Roy Hodgson after a friendly loss where the England manager experimented with players. The British press continued over reaction to every result is laughable. Chile has an excellent side and was looking to build squad cohesion with the match while the Three Lions were simply trying to use the opportunity to get a better idea of who will be on the plane to Brazil. Are Chile a better side than England currently? Perhaps, but that is no great cause for alarm as the Chileans are better than the vast majority of national sides on the planet today.

With the Germany friendly looming, we can expect a boatload of articles about how well the Germans have done in crafting a diverse and attractive national side while England has not. This narrative has been written consistently since the humbling 4-1 loss the Three Lions suffered to Germany in South Africa. Yet little of it means anything.

Gordan Strachan is doing a great job restoring Scottish pride and a meritocracy as far as squad selection is concerned. Friday’s 0-0 draw with the high-flying (though depleted) United States was a great result. The recall of Kris Boyd is overdue, and optimism is beginning to become contagious for Euro 2016 qualifying.

On the club scene, some Manchester City fans have adopted the narrative that the side would be sitting atop the Premier League table if Joe Hart had not committed so many howlers this season. The more extreme elements in this group have even stated that without Hart the embarrassing Champions League home loss to Bayern would have been much more competitive. But most fans have come around to the view I first advocated in our EPL Talk preseason preview podcast and have articulated regularly since: Manchester City’s naive transfer dealings and deluded management idealism always meant this season was going to be rough sailing in an increasingly competitive Premier League environment.

Kenny Jackett, who in my mind is one of the most under appreciated managers in British football, is doing it again, this time with recently downtrodden Wolves. The West Midlands club has suffered successive relegations but look poised to clinch automatic promotion back to the Championship with consistent and workmanlike performances. Wolves sit atop the League One table currently.

Editor’s note: Read Kartik’s previous Monday Soccer Insider columns.

4 thoughts on “QPR and Malaga Are UEFA’s Whipping Boys in Financial Fair Play: Monday Soccer Insider”

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! The whole Malaga situation has been soooooo frustrating for some time…Not gonna lie I’m still a little bitter about the Dortmund disgrace last year too…I don’t know how one can take UEFA seriously with the amount of corruption and shady dealings that take place year in and year out….*sigh* Here’s to hoping Malaga can stay middle of the table for this year and come back strong.

  2. To play devil’s advocate for a moment….

    As you point out, bringing in ‘wor ‘Arry is the kerosene and the torch for any club’s stockpile of $$$. If you didn’t know he’d burn through your money, you need to do your homework better.

    A quick heads up for any promoted team: If you are jumping into the market to purchase any EPL player from a relegated side slashing salary, DON’T BUY THEM! There’s a reason why the club is going down, and there’s another reason why they decided to try to come up without those players!

    I swear there’s a whole economy of those types of players – on big wages, offering little performance, jumping from one sinking ship to another, pulling out plugs of cash the whole time. It blows my mind that clubs continue to fall for it.

    There’s no denying that QPR has suffered due to overspending, but it’s also equally of issue that they under performed. had they spent the same amount of money and stayed up, they’d be far, far less in debt. So, it’s not so much that they spent like drunken sailors, but that they spend on players who played like drunken sailors. With a less reactionary long term plan, they could have been fine. There are certainly a lot of Middlesboros and Charltons that take time to sort out or that drop and fall even further, but there are also enough Swanseas, Stokes and West Broms in the mix that prove you can stay functional if you use your head instead of your wallet.

    Have you seen the QPR documentary, “The Four Year Plan”? Such an ironically titled film! I don’t have a lot of sympathy for any club that conducts itself like that. Plenty of sympathy for the supporters, but none for the club itself.


  3. Hum, this article is full of inaccuracy and confusion about Malaga and QPR’s cases.

    1) Malaga got punished for their inability to pay their own players and to pay other clubs they owed money to. Nothing to do with the upcoming UEFA Financial Fair Play rules. Blame the team’s owners for that. Anyone who see that punishment as unfair is not a fan of football. It is too bad that it had to happened to Malaga but what were UEFA to do turn a blind eye, not apply their rules?

    2)QPR is facing sanctions from the Football League or the English FA and it has to do with the English FA’s FFP rules that started this season.

    You might want to rewrite the article with the appropriate facts in mind.

  4. THANK YOU for bringing up this issue.

    All you need to know about FFP can be answered by examining who the main proponents of same were (the established hegemons.)

    What I find interesting is that the non-establishment clubs PSG and Monaco, into which huge sums of money were tossed, ended up making some of the bigger signings of the summer. This had a ripple effect across Europe and to my mind probably has opened up the top flight in England to a level of competition at the top not seen since prior to Sir Baconface’s landing at the swamp.

    That’s one thing. Another would be the list of EPL champions if a Jack Walker, Abramovich, and Mansour had been discouraged from getting involved in the league:

    “Manchester” U—-d (roughly 18)
    Arsenal. (3)

    Because that’s what you would have gotten had the second-place club won the years of the Blankcheck Rovers, the Chelsea and City titles.

    Hell, La Liga thinks that is jacked-up.

    All this is rather academic, as FFP will go down before the first serious legal challenge to which it is put faster than Neymar upon crossing a distance roughly 18 yards from goal.

    But still, it is LESS FFP that is needed. Not more.

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