QUEENS Park Rangers have been warned they could be demoted to the Conference next season if they carry out a threat to contest a fine for breaching Championship restrictions on spending.
Chairman Tony Fernandes has indicated he intends to challenge a likely £40m sanction – a stance that Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey said yesterday may leave him with no choice but to deny Rangers a return to the Championship, and therefore effectively expel them to the fifth tier, should they be relegated in May.
“Theoretically that is the position, but I would hope there would be resolution long before that option even had to be considered,” he said. “We are satisfied we still have the ability under our regulations to charge them for a breach of our rules whilst they were in membership.”
Championship financial fair play (FFP) rules, which were only voted in by clubs in 2012, stipulate that clubs that made losses of more than £8m last season face stiff punishments.
Those that did but did not win promotion can expect a transfer embargo, while those that exceeded £8m and went up must pay a fine related to the extent of their loss. In QPR’s case, this is expected to be around £60m.
Fernandes insists he supports FFP but has vowed to challenge any fine levied against QPR – and take the battle to court if necessary. He said earlier this year: “Will we fight the fine? What do you think? After all we’ve been through, it’s my middle name: ‘Fight It’ Fernandes.”
The Premier League has a different set of financial controls to the Championship and does not intend to intervene in any row between one of its clubs, such as QPR, and Football League bosses. QPR must submit accounts to the Football League by 1 December. The west London outfit can contest the sanction in the hope that they stay up this season and any punishment remains theoretical for the time being. Harvey warns, however, that the issue is not going to go away.
“The one thing for certain is that most clubs [in the Premier League] will become a Football League club again,” he added. “Now QPR will of course be hoping it does not happen for some considerable number of seasons. But the chances are 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.”
£40M Fine QPR expected to be hit with for overspending