Leeds hit by transfer embargo

15 Dec 2014 12:28 pm, by YorkshireSquare

Along with Blackburn Rovers and Nottingham Forest Leeds United have been handed a transfer embargo by the Football League breaching Financial Fair Play rules. The embargo had been rumoured for some time but the League have officially confirmed the embargo this morning and it will take effect for the rest of the season. Under existing rules clubs are allowed to lose no more than £3 million per season with owners being able to invest a maximum of £5 million. According to last year’s accounts Leeds made a loss of around £23 million.

The embargo will apply for as long as Leeds breach the rules. This could be lifted in June but the club would have to demonstrate that it made losses of less than £3 million with a maximum investment from owners of £6 million for the current season. Given the financial situation at Leeds this seems quite unlikely at the moment. The current rules for next season allow for losses of no more than £2 million with owner investment of £13 million and rules agreed last month allow for £15 million of losses across three seasons from 2016-2017.

The ban prevents the club paying any transfer fees or compensation. The embargo does not mean a complete ban on signing players though, there is some leeway. A club is allowed up to 24 players over the age of 21 who have made five appearances. They can maintain this 24 player squad on a one in one out basis and players under the age of 21 at the start of the season do not count to this total. So far Leeds only have 20 players who meet these criteria; Antenucci, Austin, Bellusci, Berardi, Bianchi, Cooper, Doukara, Morison, Murphy, Norris, Pearce, Sharp, Silvestri, Sloth, Thompson, Tonge Warnock and White plus players out on loan Scott Wootton and Noel Hunt.

Any signings made to fill this quota must not cost more than £600,000 over the season, this would mean signing a player on no more than £11,000 a year in wages. The club is permitted to make loan singings provided there is no loan fee. The club can pay all or part of the players wages provided that it does not exceed the £600,000 per year limit. Agents fees can be paid as part of any signings but the value counts towards the annual limit. Clubs under an embargo are also permitted to sign a goalkeeper on an emergency basis.

With a young and inexperienced squad, looking tired over the past few games signing an experienced player for the middle of the park seems vital to most Leeds fans. This embargo and the limitations it imposes on us makes it more difficult to sign such a player and without that experience we could struggle in the second half of the season. As we fall down the table, perilously close to the relegation places is there any more bad news the Football League can throw at us?

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John in Louisiana wrote on 15 Dec 2014 02:59 pm

What's really sad about this is that the rule was meant to keep big clubs from spending their way to titles. In reality, though, the rule unfairly penalizes someone like Cellino, who has a rotten financial house to put in order.

By limiting the definition of "fair play" to aggregate financial losses and owner's input, the League hands a massive advantage to big clubs with international brands like Scum, Chelsea, and Arsenal who make millions on endorsement deals like Bulova being the official timepiece of Scum.

These so-called "fair play" rules do nothing more than ensure that play will be anything but fair.