Queens Park Rangers’ promotion has provided something of a headache for the Football League, but maybe also a large windfall for charity. Rangers’ financial accounts for 2013-14 are expected to reveal they have driven a gilded horse and cart through the League’s Financial Fair Play regulations. Had they stayed down that would have meant a transfer embargo; having been promoted, they will be subject to a fine. This is levied on a sliding scale. In Rangers’ case it is estimated this will be between £30m and £35m.
QPR will need to submit their accounts for this season to the Football League by 1 December. Accountants will then study the figures, with any resulting sanction delivered by 1 January, which is when the fun will start. What if QPR refuse to pay? The obvious solution is for the Premier League to deduct the cash at source, from QPR’s TV allocation. But the big league, having exerted its muscle to force the Football League to abandon plans to distribute fines among those Championship clubs who stayed in the rules, has subsequently said that this is none of its business.
The Doomsday scenario is for the Football League to tell any non-payers they will be barred from entry to the Championship were they to be relegated from the Premier League in future, in the meantime applying a punitive rate of interest on the fine owed. But that would be likely to provoke the Premier League into retaliatory action.
The next issue, should QPR pay up, is what charity to give the money to. The logical choice, along with Prostrate Cancer UK, the Football League’s partner charity, is to distribute the funds within the game to the likes of the Football Foundation. It would be nice to see an example of football’s financial excesses benefit the wider world.
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