The other shoe finally dropped in the English Football League’s case against Queens Park Rangers regarding Financial Fair Play.
QPR on Friday agreed to pay a $55 million fine to the EFL, with payments spread out over the next ten years, for breaching Financial Fair Play rules in 2014 as the club made its push to return to the Premier League. QPR also agreed to pay all the court costs – as part of the $55 million settlement – and are banned from signing new players in the January 2019 transfer window.
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Ahead of the 2013-2014 season, QPR spent lavishly, signing the likes of Charlie Austin, Matt Phillips and Karl Henry, in addition to a first-team squad that already included Loic Remy, Ji-Sung Park and Adel Taraabt (all three would go out on loan). Ultimately, QPR’s nearly $100 million wage bill represented 195 percent of of the club’s revenue. Over a three-year period, Financial Fair Play regulations in the Championship state a team cannot lose more than $17 million per season.
Of course, while Financial Fair Play rules were put into place to keep clubs from overspending and harming their future, if QPR’s board and group of owners could afford to write off the costs and cover it from their other business assets, then as long as the club is in good shape, perhaps there shouldn’t have been a penalty.
In any case, it was probably worth it for QPR. Austin’s 18 goals helped drive QPR back into the Premier League, and despite lasting one season, the television and parachute payments are still keeping the club afloat.