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Shaw: Blackburn Rovers will face sanctions either way
FAIL to win promotion this season and prepare to be hit with a transfer embargo – or go up and get ready for a big fine.
That was Derek Shaw’s stark message to Blackburn Rovers supporters at Monday night’s fans’ forum at Ewood Park.
Rovers managing director Shaw revealed at the sold out-event that the club is set to fail to comply with the new Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules that truly come into play next season.
The rules state that Championship clubs can make a maximum loss of £3m for the current 2013-14 campaign, accounts for which must be submitted by December 1, 2014.
That figure rises to £8m if a club’s owner is willing to convert the additional £5m into shares in the club.
Anything above those figures – either £3m or £8m – will result in a transfer embargo which would come into force on January 1, 2015.
Clubs that fail to comply with FFP but are promoted from the Championship to the Premier League this season will not escape punishment either.
Clubs that go up to the top flight having breached the rules will be required to play a ‘Fair Play Tax’ penalty, which scales from one per cent on the first £100,000 overspent to 100 per cent on anything above £10m.
Rovers are set to post a big loss for the disastrous 2012-13 campaign when their latest accounts are released in December after the holding company behind the club – Venky’s London Ltd – recorded a post-tax loss of more than £27m for the last financial year.
Shaw insisted Rovers have worked hard to reduce their wage bill by ridding themselves of high-earning players signed before Gary Bowyer took over the manager’s job in May.
But he admitted it is unlikely to be enough to prevent the club from being sanctioned.
Shaw said: “We’re making some progress. We moved on seven or eight players on in the window but we brought a few more in.
“It’s a difficult balance because we’ve got to try to change a team around that almost got relegated to a team that we want to get promoted, so we’ve still got a long way to go yet.
“If we are promoted I think we’ll have a substantial fine and if we’re not promoted at this stage we’ll probably have an embargo.
“I personally don’t like the rule – and I know Gary doesn’t – and it’s very difficult for clubs who have come down from the Premier League and who have a quite a number of contracts what are in place, big contracts.
“But we’re working on it and we’ll continue to work on it.”
Shaw believes Rovers will not be the only Championship club to fall foul of FFP should they not win promotion.
He added: “If you’re over the figures – I think it is £5m which the owners can put in plus another £3m – if you’re over that, which we certainly will be at this moment in time, we may have a transfer embargo.
“But I actually think there will be a lot of clubs creating a lot of noise over the next few months because nobody has really been hit with it yet.”
Shaw also confirmed at the Fans’ Forum – which was hosted by BBC Radio Lancashire – that owners Venky’s are committed to funding the club for the ‘long haul’.
He said: “They’ve given us great support and will continue to give us support.
“It’s a big investment they have to put in to keep the club going but they’re willing to keep doing it.”
Bowyer echoed Shaw’s comments that Venky’s have been supportive.
They have told the Rovers boss he does not have to sell prized asset Jordan Rhodes in the January transfer window.
Shaw also stated he has been given no indication that global advisor Shebby Singh will return to the club.
It was Singh, said Shaw, who was behind the decision to sign five unknown Portuguese players in the summer of 2012.
The forum – which also featured Rovers midfielder David Dunn and first-team coach Craig Short – ended with a rapturous applause for Bowyer after a supporter in the audience told him that the club’s fan base are behind him.
That followed a rousing final speech by Bowyer.
He said: “It’s a team effort now from the people at Ewood, to the people at the training ground and to the supporters.
“We’re not going to win every game from now until the end of the season. There will be ups and downs and there will probably be a time when we might lose two or three on the bounce.
“But we’ll work very, very hard to make sure we get this club back to where it was when I first arrived, when we were a Premiership club.”
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