Rob Fielding is concerned by a report claiming that clubs are challenging Fair Play rules and the effect that such action could have on the Valiants.
Rob Fielding writes…
It is bizarre that clubs who are losing vast amounts of money and thus endangering their own future by reckless spending think it’s wise to take action against the Football League…
I appreciate this latest opinion piece does not focus solely on Port Vale, but I hope you will allow me some leeway as I think it is an alarming development that could effect our football club and many others as well.
On Wednesday, the excellent Guardian investigative journalist David Conn revealed that several clubs are threatening the Football League with legal action over the new Fair Play rules. From the end of this year, in addition to the wage restrictions in place in Leagues One and Two, Championship clubs that makes losses of more than £8m during this season will also be subject to sanctions.
Unsurprisingly, it appears that it is the clubs who have the most to lose through their own poor financial controls that are apparently leading the way. According to Conn, those clubs probably include Leicester City (whose most recent accounts, for 2011-12, show the club lost £30m), Queens Park Rangers (who lost £23m in 2012) and Blackburn Rovers (who lost £37m in 2013).
These clubs apparently believe that despite the measures being voted in by a majority of clubs in 2012 that any sanctions (such as fines or transfer bans) imposed by the League for clubs failing the Fair Play rules should be challenged in the courts.
In my view, it is bizarre that clubs who are losing vast amounts of money and thus endangering their own future by reckless spending think it’s wise to take action against the Football League – a body that has quite rightly decided that football finances have to be reigned in.
In many ways, part of the problem at the moment is that the rules are not widespread enough and only apply in the League. With the money washing about in the Premier League, it leaves the clubs relegated out of it in deep trouble as the freefall of Portsmouth and Wolves vividly illustrates.
In my opinion, the best course of action for fair play is not to get rid of it but in fact to make it more widespread…
In my opinion, the best course of action for fair play is not to get rid of it but in fact to make it more widespread. If the Premier League was serious about the long-term future of the game (rather than their own short-term gain) they should look at other leagues such as the Bundesliga where long-term planning has clearly born fruit.
Where should the Premier League start? With fair play rules of their own. They would not only stop the reckless “money solves everything” approach of the current Premier League clubs but reigning in Premier League spending would benefit smaller clubs, such as Vale, who suffer the consequences through higher player wages and transfer fees.
I don’t think financial fair play is faultless. Far from it. But I think regulating spending does at least promises a more level playing ground than allowing clubs to go massively into debt to try and achieve success.
I think for the good of the game in general, financial play has to continue and the clubs seeking to remove it are self-serving, short-sighted and wrong…
After all, let’s face it, if the financial reigns were let off and Vale were allowed to spend far beyond their means to try and achieve promotion there are two possible outcomes – success – although even if all 24 League One clubs were splashing the cash there’s still only room for three to go up each season – or much more worryingly no success and a massive debt to service. Do we really want to see Port Vale in administration for a third time?
I think for the good of the game in general, financial play has to continue and the clubs seeking to remove it are self-serving, short-sighted and wrong.
An explanation of the Fair Play Rules is below:
[simpletable caption=”The Fair Play Rules” width=”500″colalign=”left|left|left|left|left|left”]
Competition,Max Loss, Max Loss *, Player wages, Monitoring, Sanctions, From
Championship,8m,3m,None,Annual accounts, Points deduction or fine, Dec 2014
League One,N/A,N/A,60% of turnover,Monthly projection,Transfer ban,In place
League Two,N/A,N/A,55% of turnover,Monthly projection,Transfer ban,In place
* Loss permitted if club’s owner does not inject equity