With Neil Lennon's Bolton Wanderers suffering their second defeat of his short time in charge on Friday night against Norwich City, it has never been more apparent that the club's new manager will need to spend to improve on the thin and unbalanced squad left behind by predecessor Dougie Freedman.
Financial Fair Play (FFP) blogger Ed Thompson has written a new article, published on 30th October, providing a detailed update as to the FFP consequences for Bolton as well as the rest of the Championship.
With Championship clubs due to submit their Fair Play information to the Football League by 1 December, it is worth considering which clubs are likely to have breached the rules and the likely impact.
Looking at the Championship clubs, 9 are viewed as being ‘Likely' or ‘Very Likely' to receive a Transfer Embargo from January.
Some expenditure is excluded (such as charitable donations, promotion bonuses, and youth development expenditure). N.B. Championship Youth Development costs are unlikely to be much over £700k.
Of the three clubs that were promoted to the Premier League last season, Leicester and QPR are expected to have incurred total fines or around £50m in total:
How the embargo works
Any embargo would be applied before the start of January Transfer window. Under the ban, a club could still players however they will only be able to sign a player if it is on a ‘one a one-out, one in' basis where both the following conditions apply:
Once an embargo is applied a club can apply in March to the Football League to have the ban removed. However the removal of the ban cannot take place until 31 May 2015 and will only occur where the club has submitted Interim Information that confirms the club is on target to pass the FFP test in the following December (i.e. relating to the 2014/15 Season).
It is therefore possible that some of the clubs that start their transfer embargo in 1 January 2015 will not have their ban removed during next summer's transfer window.
Possible changes to the FFP rules
On 6th November Championship clubs are due to meet to discuss and vote on new FFP rules.
The current version of the rules were voted in by member clubs in April 2012; meetings to update the existing rules took place towards the end of last season but clubs could not agree on a new measure.
Any new rules are unlikely to impact on any transfer embargoes due to be applied in January (although they could potentially impact on any transfer embargoes relating to summer 2015.
With so many disparate interests and different financial positions amongst clubs in the Championship, gaining a consensus on one set of rules or approach is again likely to prove difficult.
So it appears likely in Ed's opinion that Wanderers, along with the majority of Championship sides, face a ban. This upcoming meeting on 6th November will therefore have ramifications in terms of the club's long and short-term spending capabilities.
It makes for sobering reading, with perhaps the best chance of fighting against FFP coming in the shape of basic politicking from the clubs facing the harshest sanctions.