By Tony Attwood
When the Premier League refused to join forces with the Football League over the issuing of fines for running up huge debts there were a few of us who noticed – and a few of the few who were disappointed. As a result of the PL’s decision not to get involved in such tawdry matters as money, there were long delays in reaching conclusions, although eventually Queens Park Rangers agreed a £42m settlement with the Football League, and Bournemouth and Leicester have also settled, although they didn’t have to since they are still in the PL.
There was even talk at one time of QPR being relegated to the Southern League, which would have caused a bit of excitement at that level, but of course it never happened.
And now we have another club that has run into difficulty: Birmingham City, a club once under the tutelage of a Mr H Redknapp. The talk is of a 12-point deduction for spending too much.
There are two problems here. One is that the clubs that do play by the rules and keep their financial houses in order are effectively penalised if another club spends what it hasn’t got, but benefits from having additional players. Birmingham however seem to have ignored every rule in the book, even apparently signing Kristian Pedersen while under a transfer embargo (although they seem to deny this).
Birmingham will of course fight the sanctions – everyone always done, and they will probably be whittled down (as they always are).
As it is Birmingham are still not supposed to sign anyone after losing more than £39m in a three year period. And when you think of it, that is a bit careless. I mean, when you are signing new players, you know how much money you have already lost, and what you regular income and outgoings are. How on earth do these guys think they are going to get away with it?
I suppose part of the reason is that the Football League keeps on giving in – it backed quite a way back in the Leicester case and with Birmingham allowed the club kept on allowing them to sign players as long as they didn’t pay any of them more than £520,000 a year. A trifling salary I am sure you will agree.
Yet the League table suggests that Birmingham have not really benefited from their escapades.
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