QPR financial results: Rangers face huge fine in top flight of debtors
Wage bill of Championship side higher than Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund
“Doing a QPR” could soon enter the lexicon of football disasters in the same way as Leeds and Portsmouth have. The club have reported staggering losses that are almost certain to result in either an unprecedented fine or an extended transfer embargo.
The punishment will be for not just breaching the Football League’s new Financial Fair Play rules, but for flying a metaphorical fleet of jumbo jets through it since airline entrepreneur Tony Fernandes took control.
The financial results QPR Holdings Limited returned are for 2012-13, at the end of which the club was relegated to the Championship. The permitted loss under FFP is £8m; Rangers lost £65.4m. Of English clubs only Manchester City and Chelsea have ever recorded higher losses in a season.
The club’s player wage bill rose to £68m, higher than Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund. It is also higher than their turnover and Rangers would have gone bust but for injections of capital from the owners. The club’s net debt is now a barely believable £177m with Fernandes’ Tune group owed £115m.
Harry Redknapp pictures on Sky Sports News during one of the transfer windows Fernandes has big dreams for QPR with a 40,000-seat stadium being planned, and a new training ground on the drawing board, but at the moment his ownership is turning into a nightmare.
When he bought QPR in August 2011 he spoke of being “prudent”. They were then embarking on their first season back in the top flight for 15 years and were totally ill-prepared for it after a summer of stasis under the previous owners. Fernandes took the first of many plunges into the transfer market, signing Joey Barton on £65,000 a week.
He has since dispensed with two managers while investing to keep Rangers in the Premier League, then again to get them back into it. Barton’s wage has been eclipsed many times. Yet after taking two points from 15, and sliding to fourth in the Championship, they are struggling to gain promotion.
There will be no sanctions applied to their spending in the 2012-13 season (the one for which accounts have just been released) but there will be for that in the current season. While QPR do not have to reveal those figures to the league until December there is very little prospect of their losses being reduced to the permitted £8m.
While the wage bill has been reduced by loaning out Loic Remy, Esteban Granero, Adel Taarabt and others including, eventually, Julio Cesar, and Chris Samba has been sold, there are still many high-earners such as Barton and Shaun Wright-Phillips on the payroll. Harry Redknapp has also spent £10m on Matt Phillips, Charlie Austin and Karl Henry, signed Richard Dunne, Danny Simpson, Gary O’Neil and Yossi Benayoun on frees, and loaned in Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Niko Kranjcar, Tom Carroll, Kevin Doyle and Modibo Maiga.
Since they will only receive a parachute payment of £15m income is likely to be halved leaving the club with a loss of between £30-50m.
If they do not go up Rangers would then face a transfer embargo from the January 2015 transfer window that would last until they show they can meet FFP. That may not be achieved until well into 2016. If they do go up they face a fine – the Financial Fair Play Tax – assessed on a sliding scale. QPR’s penalty is likely to be £25m-35m, but could be higher.
The club is thought to be one of those preparing a legal challenge to FFP – a challenge the League have indicated they would resist ‘robustly’. It was voted in by a 21-3 majority in April 2012 (QPR, then in the Premier League, did not vote).
Rangers lost £41m on transfers in 2012-13. The wage bill was further swelled by high profile free transfers acquisitions.
Hoop dreams: QPR’s 2012-13 arrivals
C Samba (Anzhi) £12.5m
L Rémy (Marseilles) £9.2m
E Granero (Real Madrid) £7m
S Mbia (Marseilles) £5.2m
S Diakité (Nancy) £3.5m
J Hoilett (Blackburn) £3.3m
J-S Park (Man United) £2.7m
J Cesar (Internazionale) Undis
A Johnson (Fulham) Undis
Y Suk-Young (Chunnam)Undis
J Bosingwa (Chelsea) Free
R Green (West Ham) Free
J Jenas (Tottenham) Free
S Magri (Portsmouth) Free
R Nelsen (Tottenham) Free
Fabio (Man United) Loan
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