In news that should surprise nobody, Nottingham Forest have been hit with a transfer embargo by the Football League for failing to meet Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations
Forest, along with Blackburn Rover and Leeds United, are now subject to an ‘FFP embargo’ from 1 January 2015 for the remainder of the season.
The three clubs all exceeded the ‘maximum permitted deviation’ of £8m during 2013/14 and will have the opportunity to have the embargo lifted at the end of the season by demonstrating they have stayed within the allowed losses of £6m for the 2014/15 season.
Forest’s accounts have yet to be made public, however, given that Forest’s losses in previous years have been £11.6m (2011/12) and £17.1m (2012/13), it’s difficult to see how they could fall to less than £6m this season.
The sale of Karl Darlow and Jamaal Lascelles, and subsequent signings of Michail Antonio and Britt Assombalonga, could help with FFP although a dramatic reduction in expenditure will be required to reduce losses.
The three clubs — and there could be more to be announced — will be prohibited from registering any new players (permanent or loan) unless they have 24 or fewer established players (players aged 21 or over that have made at least 5 starting appearances for the club).
Where clubs have fewer than 24 established players, they will only be permitted to sign players where the employee costs of a player being signed are less than £600,000 per annum (or pro-rata if signed on a shorter contract).
The make up of Nottingham Forest’s squad under FFP ‘established’ player guidelines, according to the Nottingham Post, is 22 which allows for two additions:
Established players (22): over the age of 21 who have made five or more first team starts: Djamel Abdoun, Michail Antonio, Britt Assombalonga, Dexter Blackstock, Chris Burke, Chris Cohen, Danny Collins, Karl Darlow, Dorus de Vries, Danny Fox, Matty Fryatt, Greg Halford, Dan Harding, Jack Hobbs, Henri Lansbury, Eric Lichaj, Michael Mancienne, Jamie Paterson, Andy Reid, Robert Tesche, David Vaughan, Kelvin Wilson.
Players over the age of 21, who have not yet made five starts: Louis Laing, Stephen McLaughlin, Lars Veldwijk.
Players who will see their loan spell expire by 1 January: Jack Hunt, Tom Ince.
The Football League statement adds:
Where clubs have 24 established players, they will be permitted to trade on a ‘one out, one in’ basis but only if the employee costs of the player coming in to the club are no more than whichever is the lower amount of:
• 75% of the equivalent costs of the player going out.
• Or a maximum of £600,000 per annum (or pro-rata if signed on shorter contract)
• Clubs under an FFP embargo will be permitted to sign a goalkeeper on an emergency basis (in line with existing regulations).
• Clubs under an FFP embargo will not be permitted to pay transfer fees or compensation fees for professional players.
• Clubs under an FFP embargo will not be permitted to pay a loan fee to another club, they may only pay the player’s wage (or a contribution towards it).
• For incoming players, clubs can only pay Agents’ Fees as a benefit in kind to the player in question (as long as they do not exceed the £600,000 employee costs limit).
The FFP rules from 2016/17 were amended last month at a meeting of Championship clubs to allow losses of up to £15m a season during a three-year timeframe.