QPR could be relegated to Conference unless they pay £40m FFP fine
• QPR fighting penalty after breaching financial fair play
• Football League chief says ultimate sanction could be applied
• Tony Fernandes: the chairman who’s a fans’ favourite
• Why Championship teams are crying foul
The Football League has confirmed QPR could be consigned to the Conference in the event of relegation from the top flight if they refuse to pay a huge fine incurred under its financial fair play rules.
QPR are expected to face a fine of up to £40m when they reveal their financial results later this year, covering the season they spent in the Championship following relegation from the Premier League.
The club posted record pre-tax losses of £65.4m for the year ending May 2013, when they were relegated from the Premier League. The losses for the last financial year, expected to be made public in December, are also expected to be sizeable.
The QPR chairman Tony Fernandes has vowed to fight any fine imposed by the Football League, which would have to go to charity rather than the other clubs under an agreement with the Premier League over its solidarity payments.
The Football League chief executive, Shaun Harvey, said he was “satisfied” that it would be able to charge QPR for a breach of the rules while they were still part of the competition and that the ultimate sanction would be to refuse re-admission.
“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,” said Harvey, speaking at the Soccerex conference in Manchester.
“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. Certainly, three of the 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, introduced in 2012, face a transfer embargo but those that win promotion are fined instead.
“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 the 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 favour of FFP but it is unfair for a club coming down.”
The Premier League chief executive, Richard Scudamore, is also on record as saying the rules needed to be amended. Harvey said there was little chance of them being altered before the FFP declarations had to be made on 1 December.
Harvey said: “Unless the 24 clubs vote to change the rules, the rules as they are now will stay in place. I don’t suspect there is any form of rule change that would be considered or brought forward that would see the current circumstances we potentially face changing.”
He added that discussions with the Premier League were continuing over trying to standardise their financial fair play rules.
“There’s a long-standing discussion that’s taken place between the Football League and the Premier League as to how to try to ensure that we have regulations that actually work for clubs regardless of which division they’re in,” he said.
“We do talk to them periodically about any number of issues and this features – being topical – relatively high on that agenda.”