Financial Fair Play rules for the second tier are put on hold


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The Independent Online

While Uefa's Financial Fair Play regime is due to be introduced in the 2013-14 season, the Football League appears likely to water down plans to introduce its own stringent regime in the Championship from next term.

The League announced in June 2011 that FFP rules restricting clubs' spending to 60 per cent of turnover would be introduced, setting February's quarterly meeting of all 72 clubs as the deadline to ratify proposals. But the deadline passed without resolution and, with all 24 Championship clubs not due to meet again until June, it seems next season is now too close to enforce a system under which clubs will be penalised for errant spending.

A season without any punishment – effectively testing the system but delaying implementation for a year – is one of a number of options. West Ham indicated last year they were willing to fight FFP by judicial review.

Portsmouth's administrator, Trevor Birch, warned last week that the Championship had become "a scene of carnage" and "a catastrophe" in financial terms, as clubs pursue the dream of top-flight football, and cited FFP rules as the solution.

But the proposals are beset by a number of problems, not least how one of the proposed penalties, a transfer ban, could be imposed, since clubs in breach of FFP might be in the Premier League before the previous season's accounts were published. For instance, Southampton's wage-to-turnover ratio last season was a mighty 93 per cent on losses of £11.5m. But increased TV and commercial income and the sale of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will now see them come close to breaking even. They are also heading for the Premier League where, seemingly, no punishment could be applied.