By Tony Attwood
After the Premier League’s own version of Financial Fair Play was left in its box, never to have the wrapping paper undone, Uefa crumbled from its ideals of bringing football finance under control, and the Football League let QPR off the hook with a fine that didn’t even make the owner blink, I pretty much gave up on FFP.
But now this Christmas morning it turns out there is what journalists might call “yer actual news!” (as opposed to the stuff they make up in the pub, and the claim that they can divine what we will be thinking next year.)
Fulham, Nottingham Forest and Bolton have been given transfer embargos for the rest 2015/16 season for breaking FFP rules during 2014/15.
Fulham and Nottingham Forest each had a loss of over £6m – the maximum allowed. Poor Bolton, teetering on the edge of extinction, failed to complete the necessary paperwork since they either couldn’t access it, had lost it under a mountain of writs, or simply cannot give wholesome reply because they are being taken to court by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs – the UK’s tax collector.
Interestingly it is generally accepted that by January 2013 Fulham were effectively debt free as Mohammed Al-Fayed converted his loans into equity in the club.
None of the clubs will be able to sign players in the January transfer window. This might explain why Fulham can’t recruit a new manager. It doesn’t explain to me why they sacked Felix Magath without fully grasping the issue – but I am sure there was a good reason.
Bournemouth however have just got a fine. The Football League has no control over them of course, now they are beating Chelsea etc in the Premier League. However their spending has always puzzled me (mind you a lot puzzles me – including how Father Christmas manages to get down the chimney when he’s so obese).
As yet we don’t know what Bournemouth’s fine will be – and I suspect it will not be revealed or called in until Bournemouth are relegated.
Here’s the statement:
“All three exceeded the maximum permitted deviation of £6m – consisting of a maximum adjusted loss of £3m plus a further maximum of £3m of shareholder investment.
“Champions AFC Bournemouth will face a financial sanction to be finalised in due course, while Fulham and Nottingham Forest will be subject to an ‘FFP Embargo’ for the remainder of the current campaign. Both clubs will have the opportunity to have their FFP embargo lifted at the end of the season by demonstrating that they have stayed within the maximum permitted deviation of £13m (£5m loss plus £8m shareholder investment) for the 2015/16 season.
“A further club, Millwall, also exceeded the maximum permitted deviation but will not face any further sanction, in line with Championship FFP regulations, following the club’s relegation to League One as it was not deemed to have gained any significant advantage.
“The Football League is currently in discussions with a number of other clubs over their FFP submissions and will confirm any further FFP embargoes, if any, in due course.”
Bournemouth said they were engaged in discussions with the League. Their problem will come to the fore as and when they go back down. Fulham said, “The embargo arises as the club made an adjusted loss greater than the £6m limit allowed by the Football League in the year following relegation. The Football League has since recognised this limit is low, especially for clubs recently relegated with Premier League overheads in place, and the limit has now increased to £13m per annum. Unfortunately Fulham’s embargo falls in the final year of the previous limit, but the club does not anticipate being in breach in future years.’’
Meanwhile, here’s the Untold Christmas story:
Kolo Toure has been a regular financial contributor of an orphanage in Yopougon, Abidjan, in the Ivory Coast and reported, “I’ve been looking after them by providing food and a small house, which is not great to be honest but is something which can help them because Crystal (the woman running the project) has about 100 kids.
“I am lucky that I am able to help them. Every month I send money to ensure they can have a good life and I will try to do that as long as I can provide.
“We are not perfect but if you can still help people you help them, and I will always help people who are honest and those kids have done nothing. I think of them as my kids and to provide for them every month is nothing. I love to see them happy, that is most important.
“Everything I do on my own and I’ve never really talked about it, but with Christmas coming it is a good time to do something. With Christmas coming I’ve tried to organise a Christmas party for them.
“I’d like to organise one or two big events, like a dinner, to raise money for a nice place for them to live and invest money to generate more for them. There are different children from different ethic and religious backgrounds. The Muslim religion teaches us to be nice people and to try to help people, Christian or Muslim it doesn’t matter.
“The most important thing is to be nice with everyone you can and then everyone will respect you. It is a good thing for me to just try to help all those kids.”
Good on you Kolo. Thank you for giving us a good Christmas story.
It’s taken us over five year of campaigning but at last Premier League look ready to accept that refereeing accuracy is not all it might be, as they seek to adopt video refereeing.
And four Christmas anniversaries
25 December 1886: It is suggested in some non-contemporary sources that a meeting was held at the Royal Oak to change the name of the club to Royal Arsenal. There are however doubts about the veracity of the story.
25 December 1889: First recorded Arsenal game on Christmas Day – in a friendly match Royal Arsenal beat Preston Hornets 5-0.
25 December 1893: Arsenal played the first Christmas Day league game. It ended Woolwich Arsenal 4 Burslem Port Vale 0, in front of 10,000 fans equalling the previous highest crowd achieved at the club’s very first league game.
25 December 1956: Christmas day league games ended in 1956 with Arsenal away to Chelsea, the result being a 1-1 draw. Boxing Day games continued however, meaning players still had to train on Christmas Day.