By Tony Attwood
Every now and then, football rules change. If you are of a certain vintage you might remember the introduction of the “no back pass” rule to stop defenders wasting time by passing back to the keeper.
Indeed over time the offside rule has had a lot of tinkering, with the biggest recent change being that a player is only offside if involved in the play. Go back further and in 1925 the offside rule was completely changed, reducing the number of defenders needing to be between the attacker and the goal by one. Go back further still and goal keepers could handle the ball anywhere up to the half way line.
The rules about transfers have changed too, the transfer window previously, in England at least) lasting about 80% of the season, and closing only for the last six weeks or so. Even the registration of players hasn’t always been as it is now, with players originally free to play for anyone.
Once upon a time we had retain and transfer – a system that basically tied players to their clubs in a feudal manner. George Eastham of Arsenal fought against that, while Bosman had a more recent fight, persuading the EU that football should not be exempt from the issue of free movement of people across the EU.
More recently Uefa gave us the first FFP, brought in to affect all clubs in the future – whether they were in the Champions League or not at the time.
Thus some of these changes are brought about by clubs meeting at their league’s AGM, some by Fifa, some by the English courts, some by the EU.
Now I mention this because of late there has been a bit of an upsurge in the argument that certain rules cannot or should not apply to certain clubs “because they didn’t vote for the rule”. As if, for example, the clubs that voted against the new offside law in 1925 would have been able to play under the old offside rule while others played under the new rule.
No English clubs voted for the Bosman ruling or the Eastham ruling – it was the courts that did it. Likewise no one voted for the endless changes in interpretations that Fifa hands out each year to referees.
So quite why it might be argued that the financial rules have to be voted for by each club, for clubs to accept them, is a bit baffling.
The key point here at the moment is QPR with its mega overspend during its last year in the Championship. Now before I go further let me agree that I wrote a bit about QPR a week or two back, so this means I’m likely to get a post or two claiming that Untold is obsessed with QPR, just as we have been accused of being obsessed with Man C, Tottenham, Man U and a few other such. All I can say, as always, is the banner on the home page makes it quite clear the issues we cover.
Anyway, back to the matter in hand. As a result of their overspend in their last year in the Championship QPR are likely to suffer a huge fine from the Football League under the rules that were in place although not yet in force, when QPR was in the Championship – but which maybe it didn’t vote for. But QPR knew they would be there as and when they came down.
But the Premier League won’t force QPR to pay the money, and won’t do anything about collecting the money. So if they are fined QPR don’t have to pay – unless they get relegated. They have said they will appeal. The League says that if they don’t pay, they’ll be thrown out. Rather like Rangers in Scotland, they can then work their way back up – in QPR’s case, from the Conference. Although as the rules stand, they won’t be allowed to be promoted from the Conference unless they pay their fine first.
QPR threaten to go to court over the issue, but football rules suggest that all football matters should go through football authorities – up to the CAS. It is a bit of a muddle.
Meanwhile QPR also hit a bit of a hiccup over their new stadium near Wormwood Scrubs. The owners of the site they have earmarked has said they “will not enter into any future talks with the club,” which sounds a bit definitive.
Cargiant who own the land said, “We are very surprised by QPR’s PR campaign regarding a proposed new stadium in Old Oak Common and in particular on land owned by Cargiant. The company will announce in due course details of its own scheme for the regeneration of its land holdings that will incorporate the residential units, jobs and community facilities that the GLA detailed in their vision for the regeneration for the area.”
Pesky things these stadia developments as Tottenham have also found, as the owner of a spot of land they want has gone to appeal over the compulsory purchase scheme. I’ve not noticed any of the people who whine about Arsenal’s lack of trophies since, when was it, oh yes, last month, congratulating Arsenal on building their stadium and not having to bother about any FFP issues. Others can only wish they could be so lucky.
QPR is owned by Tony Fernandes, who apparently is worth about £500 million, and the Mittal family, who are worth about £14 billion. So the fine of £45m or so probably won’t hurt them too much – although Mr F says he won’t pay no matter what.
Maybe QPR didn’t vote for this change in rules, but as with the issue of their new stadium, it is not really in their hands.
And that’s really the point about Arsenal. What the club does is what the club wants to do. It is quite a luxurious position to be in.
There is an index to recent posts, a guide to today’s anniversaries, and details of our other sites on the Untold Arsenal home page
- How the media always knocks Arsenal, but ignores England’s failures.
- Left has never been stronger at Arsenal FC!
- The seven main things that are wrong with football in England
- 2022-23 WSL Arsenal v Spurs – Match Preview – part 2 comments from the manager and team news
- 2022-23 WSL Arsenal v Spurs – Match Preview – part 1 the head to head record and comments on Spurs summer signings