Brighton and Hove Albion manager, Gus Poyet, has today said that clubs who enter administration should be punished more severely and be automatically relegated.
This comes after fellow Championship side, Portsmouth, recently entered administration, triggering an automatic 10 point penalty which has resulted them drop into the Championship’s relegation places.
Although he specifically never mentioned Portsmouth in his statement, Poyet thinks this should happen to all football clubs who enter financial difficulty. In an interview with The Argus, the Uruguayan says;
“I would be more severe with any club, because it is people that right, or wrong, are cheating the competition.
“They try to spend what they don’t have to see if they can get up and if they don’t they go into administration.
“It shouldn’t be like that. For me categorically I would like the teams that get into that down, not 10 points, down.
“Then we will see how the teams are going to react and who is going to take responsibility.
“That is the other point. Somebody needs to be responsible.”
These comments throw open many questions about the financial state of English football. Clubs should never spend more than they have because you get cases like Portsmouth, Rangers and Port Vale who are currently in administration. It is damaging reading for football in this country. Wages are more than likely to be a key factor, with rumors suggesting that a few players at Pompey are earning over the £30k mark, and not sounding too bias as a Southampton supporter, salaries for a club of that size, is not sustainable.
Whilst doing research for my dissertation on the finances of The Championship between 2005-2009, some staggering statistics have emerged regarding wages at this level of English football. For example; in the 2007-2008 campaign, nine football clubs out of twenty four had a wage bill which was over 100% of their actual annual turnover. These clubs were; Leicester City, Cardiff City, Stoke City, Preston North End, Burnley, Queens Park Rangers, Southampton, Coventry City and Hull City. All of these clubs were paying over the odds in terms of wages and some have since had some financial difficulty because it cannot be sustained.
Moving back to Portsmouth, today it has emerged that the money The Football League gives their members each month (£200k), will be given to Pompey until the end of the season. It had been previously reported that the money wouldn’t be given to them because of their administration. But, the league has made a u-turn on the decision. I personally think that they have made this decision because I believe they do not want to see a football club go under, as the south-coast outfit are very close to this. With this money totaling £800k, they will now be able to see out the remaining fixtures.
But, reflecting on Poyet’s quotes, I may not have agreed on what the man has said before, but I certainly do on this occasion. Although he not aiming it at Portsmouth, I do think clubs should be automatically relegated. I believe this will make clubs realise that financial mismanagement will not be tolerated and they may think about their finances in the future.