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On October 25, the football club Queens Park Rangers announced its intention to file an appeal against the decision of an arbitration court dismissing its claim that the English Football League’s 2012 Financial Fair Play Regulations (the “2012 Regulations”) were unlawful from a competition law perspective.

Under the 2012 Regulations, clubs with losses over the maximum amount permitted of £8 million in one season would be fined. Since then, the clubs in the English Football League have agreed new Financial Fair Play Regulations that have increased the maximum loss amount to £39 million during three seasons.

Queens Park Rangers was fined according to the 2012 Regulations after it declared a loss of £9 million in the 2013–2014 season, after having spent £41 million on signings in the same season. The club did not declare a sum of £60 million it had written off in loans and entered in its annual accounts as an “exceptional item.” The English Football League reclassified the amount as a loss.

The arbitration court dismissed Queens Park Rangers’ claim that the 2012 Regulations breached EU competition law, declaring that the fine imposed on the club was not disproportionate. The court’s decision has been declared confidential and has not been published.

This is not the first claim of the incompatibility of these regulations with competition law. In July 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union declared inadmissible the request for a preliminary ruling by the Brussels Court of First Instance regarding the compatibility of the UEFA’s Financial Fair Play Regulations with EU competition law and the freedom to provide services.

Authors: Carolina Fernández and Blanca Marzal

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