Ipswich Town were one of six clubs that voted against Financial Fair Play backtracking
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town managing director Ian Milne has revealed that the club was among six of those who voted against changing Financial Fair Play rules last week.
The Blues have adhered strictly to FFP in recent years, a system that was introduced to force clubs to work towards a break-even system.
Other Championship clubs have continued to spend big in an attempt to reach the Premier League and all the riches that it brings though. And, as a result, there was some major backtracking on the rules last Thursday.
At an Emergency General Meeting held in Derby, 18 of the 24 Championships clubs voted in new ‘profitability and sustainability’ regulations that will be implemented from the start of the 2016/17 season.
At present, clubs must operate with losses of less than £3m a season. That will now jump up to £15m a season for the 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 campaigns.
Charlton have been fierce critics of such moving of the goalposts, but Ipswich – though unhappy – are less angry.
“Look, I don’t want to make a big play of this,” said Milne. “We were a ‘no’, but I would say we were a weak no.
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“They now talk about ‘sustainability’, well increasing allowable losses is a funny way of talking about sustainability.
“We felt it was important that, in order to make football clubs sustainable, you shouldn’t have owners going in and spending like mad, because that’s the quickest way you’re going to go bust.
“So we were very much in favour of the tougher regime. We were in it, we were working well, as I think Derby and other clubs were. We were quite happy where we were, but the majority wanted it.
“We had a good ‘no’ argument, many agreed with us in principle, but I can understand why they voted ‘yes’.
“It’s not that they want to be able to spend more, there are just some clubs with low crowds who do find it difficult to make ends meet and they needed that solidarity payment from the Premier League to become contractual.
“There are a number of clubs coming to the end of their parachute payments as well that needed that contractual payment.
“I think there were also clubs that are maybe looking for new owners and those new investors will want to spend more than the current limits. That had an affect on how people have voted as well.”
It must stick in the craw of clubs like Ipswich, who have adhered to the rules only to see them changed though?
“It does – especially as we’ve proved quite successful,” said Milne. “One chief executive of a club said to me ‘today we are paying a player seven thousand a week, next season they will want 14 thousand a week because they’ll think we’ve all got more money – that’s not true, it’s just that we can all go in debt a bit more’.
“I know though, having spoken to the vast majority of these chief executives, that there are very few clubs that actually want to spend more.
“A lot of clubs want to be in the position that we are and that Burnley were in last season – having that consistency of manager and consistency of players.”
In the meantime, the current, tighter spending regulations will remain in place. Clubs have to submit their finances by December 1, with those who have gone over the allowed losses set to be punished. Premier League clubs will be fined, while Championship clubs will face a ‘one-in, one-out’ transfer embargo in which the incoming player must not earn more than the outgoing player.
Bournemouth, Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth could well fall within the latter category.
“We wait and see how much teeth it has got,” said Milne. “Will it prove a sufficient punishment? Will clubs contest it? Time will tell, I guess. This could be a window of opportunity for us.”