Leicester City v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet Football League Championship

There is a legal challenge afoot to Financial Fair Play in the Football League, particularly those clubs in the Championship for whom debt spending is about the only way they’ve come up with in order to put together a winning team. David Conn has the gist in a must-read article on the development. Here’s an excerpt:

Some of those owners have been bankrolling huge losses to amass a squad capable of winning promotion, notably Leicester, top of the Championship, who are believed by Championship sources to have instructed the solicitors, Brabners, to make the legal threat to the financial fair play rules. The Manchester-based solicitors have written to the league’s chief executive, Shaun Harvey, objecting over six pages to the FFP rules, arguing they suffer from not being the same as those of the Premier League, will prevent clubs competing, restrict investment by owners and reduce players’ wages – which is in fact one of its principal aims.

The irony of this is that more and more, significant outside investment is necessary for clubs competing their way to promotion, if only to help secure debts recklessly accrued by former owners. In other words, many clubs have been so financially damaged by the hubris of their forebears they need a giant chunk of change to even begin crawling back into the light.

As for the owners filing this suit, club supporters should be wary of investors for whom player wage inflation is not an issue. If this is their attitude to the business model of the club, chances are there is not a problem in the world for them that cannot be solved by throwing money at it, and that includes vastly overpriced players.

Club investment is indeed crucial for promotion, as we saw with the Southampton model. Yet part of that must involve better, more intelligent use of resources in finding talent at the low ebb of value. Why should other, more responsible clubs trying to work their way to sustainability suffer for other clubs’ poor business acumen?