BLACKBURN Rovers managing director Derek Shaw has hit out at the Football League’s Financial Fair Play, branding it ‘complete nonsense’.
But Shaw did not confirm whether Rovers are part of a group of Championship clubs who have reportedly threatened the Football League with legal action if penalties for failing FFP, which come into play next season, are not modified.
The Guardian yesterday reported that Manchester-based law firm Brabners has written to Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey on behalf of several Championship clubs and one League One club – all of who were unnamed – objecting to FFP and warning of a potential legal challenge.
Given Rovers are expected to fail FFP it would appear they could be one of the unidentified clubs who have instructed Brabners to act on their behalf.
Shaw, however, would not comment.
But he did label the FFP penalties – which are likely to see the Ewood Park outfit slapped with a transfer embargo if they fail to win promotion this season, or hit with a big fine if they go up to the Premier League – as ‘complete nonsense’.
He added: “There’s been more than 100 years of the Football League and I think they are bringing in the most hideous rule that could cost clubs.”
Should Rovers remain in the Championship next season they will suffer a transfer embargo in January if they do not meet the new fair play rules. That embargo will only be lifted when the club shows its spending has been brought within the FFP limits.
Shaw believes that would be unfair on Rovers if the club’s owners Venky’s are willing to foot the bill for new signings.
Shaw also feels clubs in a similar situation to Rovers but with bigger fan bases and increased revenue streams, have a better chance of falling in line with FFP.
Shaw said: “If you’re up to your limit on your spending and you lose a star player in January to injury, the rules are telling you that you can’t replace him. How can that be right in football?
“And there are clubs in the Championship who get nearly three times our gates so where do you draw a line on Fair Play?”
FFP rules state that Championship clubs can make a maximum loss of £3m for the current 2013-14 campaign. That figure rises to £8m if a club’s owner is willing to convert the additional £5m into shares in the club.
Anything above £3m or £8m will result in a transfer embargo which would come into force on January 1, 2015. Championship clubs that fail to comply with FFP but are promoted to the Premier League this season will be required to pay a ‘Fair Play Tax’ penalty, which scales from one per cent on the first £100,000 overspent to 100 per cent on anything above £10m.
Rovers posted a £36.5m loss for last season and despite a big effort to reduce the club’s wage bill, it remains extremely unlikely they will get their losses for this season down to the £8m limit.
The FFP rules were agreed in April 2012 by the overwhelming majority of Championship clubs.
At that time Rovers were playing in the Premier League and therefore did not have a vote.