Shaun Harvey, the chief executive of the Football League, has warned Queens Park Rangers that they could be relegated or thrown out of professional football if the club fails to pay a multi-million pound Financial Fair Play (FFP) fine.
QPR are expected to face a fine of somewhere between £40-50m when the club reveals their financial results later this year, covering the season Rangers spent in the Championship following their relegation from the Premier League in April 2013.
According to reports in England, QPR posted record pre-tax losses of £65.4m for the year ending May 2013, when they were relegated from the English top flight. Those losses are expected to climb to even greater numbers, once the club publicizes its results from the last financial year in December.
R’s chairman Tony Fernandes has stated that he will fight any fine imposed by the Football League.
“Will we fight the fine? What do you think? After all we’ve been through, it’s my middle name – ‘Fight It’ Fernandes,” said the QPR chairman after his club won promotion.
“My view has been consistent, that it is very unfair for a club that has been relegated as the wage difference between the Premier League and Championship is impossible. There should be a time period for clubs to rectify their salaries.”
“If we were in the Championship in two years with that wage bill it wouldn’t be right. I’m in favor of FFP but it is unfair for a club coming down.”
But the Football League’s chief executive has warned Fernandes that the league could deny QPR permission to play in its competitions in the event the club carried out their threat to contest their punishment for breaching FFP regulations.
“Theoretically, that is the position but I would hope there would be resolution long before that option even had to be considered. The one thing for certain is that most clubs [in the Premier League] will become a Football League club again,” Harvey said.
“Now QPR will of course be hoping it does not happen for some considerable number of seasons. But the chances they will need to return to the Football League fold at some point in the future. Certainly, three of the current 20 clubs that are in the Premier League will be in the Football League next season.”
Clubs that remain within the Football League that breach the rules face a transfer embargo. But those that win promotion are fined instead.
Harvey also warned that the punishments for FFP breaches by Championship clubs were non-negotiable, unlike those UEFA imposed on Manchester City last season.
“Unless the 24 clubs vote to change the rules, the rules as they are now will stay in place,” he said.
For now, there is little chance of the rule being changed before December 1, when the FFP declarations have to be made.
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