Following the announcement on the rejection of proposals to change Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules by the Football League Championship clubs, Huddersfield Town Chief Executive Nigel Clibbens has explained the Club’s position.
The FFP rules were implemented with very strong support from Championship clubs some years ago. Firstly there was an initial transition period with last season (2013/14) being the first where the Championship FFP rules ‘bite’. Possible sanctions such as player embargos or fines are to take effect in 2014/15 for those in breach during 2013/14.
For an explanation of the existing Football League Championship FFP rules, which allowed Championship club Permitted Allowances of £8 million in the 2013/14 season, click HERE.
Since they entered the rule book, a number of concerns have been voiced, over the ‘low’ Permitted Allowances for losses and also the practical operation of the rules and penalties. With the recent huge increase in Premier League Parachute Payments made to relegated clubs, some clubs felt the ability of those Championship clubs without Parachute Payments to compete was being unfairly compromised by the restriction of losses and that they should be able to spend more to keep up (and therefore be free to make bigger losses).
The current rules have also attracted some criticism for permitting on-going ‘overspending’ within a season, but sanctions only kicking in after the season ends; a case of penalties after the ‘horse has bolted’.
During the course of this season the Football League and Championship clubs have been engaged in a lengthy process of reviewing and discussing possible changes to the existing Championship Financial Fair Play rules.
This culminated with consideration and voting on new proposals and amendments to change the rules for 2014/15 onwards. At the heart of the proposals were options to increase the level of Permitted Allowances and also a new regime of ‘Real Time Testing’ to ensure compliance during the season, avoiding the need for retrospective penalties.
The proposed changes put forward for Championship clubs to vote upon were as follows:
- An increase in Permitted Allowances from £6m to £12.8m in 2014/15 and each season thereafter
- That any funding introduced over £3m in any financial year must be provided by way of equity or Football League ‘approved’ scheme.
- Modifications to rules on player registrations for clubs in breach.
- The introduction of Real Time Testing
- As per Proposal One, but with an increased deviation to £11.4m
- As per Proposal One, but with an increased deviation to £10m
- Replace the current retrospective testing regime with Real Time Testing, but with all other elements of the current rules remaining in place.
Huddersfield Town voted NO to Proposals One, Two and Three, which would have seen an increase in any loss allowances and a relaxation of rules. The Club voted YES to Proposal Four, which would have seen ‘Real Time Testing’ implemented – meaning no Club could breach the rules during the course of the season, thereby toughening the effectiveness of the FFP rules.
In a letter to all Championship clubs on Wednesday, the Football League confirmed that all four proposals had failed to receive the required 75% support, meaning that the current FFP regulations in their entirety remain in place for the 2014/15 season.
Huddersfield Town Chief Executive Nigel Clibbens commented:
“Regardless of how today’s votes turned out, Huddersfield Town’s position on Financial Fair Play remains unchanged; we are strong and long-term supporters of FFP. With the lead now being taken by UEFA, the direction at international level is also clear.
“At this Club, we started on the difficult journey to curtail losses and improve financial viability some time ago. It’s really tough to comply and compete, but it is in the long term interests of both the wider game and Huddersfield Town. We don’t want to see backwards steps, as they increase pressure on costs and that burden therefore falls on owners and supporters and increases the risks to clubs.
“We do recognise that it is important FFP rules are reviewed continuously, especially in the context of an imbalance between Premier League and Championship clubs. The fundamental issue impacting on the Championship FFP debate is the effect of huge Premier League ‘parachute payments’ and the imbalance that creates in resources.
“However, the Championship continues to demonstrate year in, year out that there is much more to achieving success and promotion than simply spending more on player wages than the next club.
“Huddersfield Town favours steps to reduce losses and increase the viability and sustainability of clubs. Strong penalties for breaches – not more losses being allowed – are critical. As a result, we voted against the relaxing of existing FFP rules.
“’Real Time Testing’ was very important in our view, to protect the integrity of the competition and the credibility of the FFP rules in the division. We are very disappointed this improvement failed to be adopted. We all need football to be viable, attractive and vibrant and losses to fall, to encourage new owners and improve affordability for fans.”