Former Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp has said he believes football’s authorities have decided to “pick on QPR” after the London club was handed a multi-million pound fine for breaching financial fair play (FFP) rules.
The Championship side stand accused of spending far in excess of the permitted amounts en route to securing Premier League promotion in 2014, and then manipulating their accounts to make it appear they had not broken the rules.
A claim by QPR that the English Football League’s (EFL) 2012 FFP regulations were unlawful has now been dismissed by an arbitration panel. This was revealed to QPR last week and made public on Tuesday, with chief executive Les Hoos saying they were “disappointed” and “would be appealing.”
When Redknapp was told of the ruling, he said: “This is crazy,” and said he was “shocked and devastated.”
Speaking while at a Swing Against Cancer golf event in Dubai, Redknapp added: “Why they would pick on QPR, of all the clubs, that have overstepped the rules, I just find that amazing.”
Redknapp, who is out of work after being sacked by Birmingham City last month, was quick to defend his transfer record at QPR, although there is no suggestion whatsoever that he is to blame for the club’s current turmoil.
He said: “I didn’t sign [those] players. Julio Cesar and others were all there when I arrived at the club.
“The team I got promoted with, people like Bobby Zamora, Joey Barton, [Armand] Traore, Clint Hill, Rob Green in goal, Nedham Onuoha, they were there already.
“They weren’t players that I brought in. They got promoted with a team of players that were already there. It was only one or two signings [that I made]. When we got back to the Premier League, we took loans. We certainly didn’t overspend for a Premier League club. Definitely not.
“I don’t want to criticise anyone who bought Julio Cesar and others. That’s not fair. What I had to do was to try and get them off the wage bill. It was a cutting-back process when I was there and taking people on free transfers and, in lots of cases, having to pay a percentage of their wages to get them off the wage bill.”
The concept of FFP was introduced by UEFA to govern the spending of teams in the Champions League and Europa League, with the aim of also increasing parity in domestic competitions. However, Redknapp believes that FFP is behind bigger teams pulling away at the top of the Premier League.
“That’s why you’ve got six teams on a different level to the rest in the Premier League,” he said. “The top six teams have got the biggest budgets, the best players and the strongest squads. That’s why every year — apart from one year when Leicester won [the Premier League title in 2016] — every other year it’s the same six teams [in contention].
“I don’t know what the solution would be. I don’t know how it all works out and what the guidelines to fair play are. That’s up to people who run the football club. Managers have very little say in transfer dealings and transfers these days.
“QPR is a great club with great support. I’m sure this will drag on and I don’t know the jurisdiction of it all. I don’t know how it happened and how it was allowed to happen.”