Neil Warnock is an unlucky chap. This ‘who owns the player’ malarkey seems to follow him from club to club. And unfortunately for him, and actually also because of what he said during Tevez-gate, the FA will be looking to crack down hard on QPR and Faurlin-gate.
Four years ago Carlos Tevez scored the only goal of the game for West Ham United at Manchester United, a goal that kept the Hammers in the Premier League ultimately at the expense of Neil Warnock’s Sheffield United. Tevez, was essentially on secondment from Kia Joorabchian’s MSI investment group, something West Ham decided not to tell the Premier League and which, in many people’s eyes, should have resulted in a points deduction.
Obviously these points were never taken and the Hammers got away with a fine, something that Warnock is now hoping will happen to QPR. A complete change of tune compared to 2007 when he spent months accusing the Football Association of ‘lacking bite’ and ‘fudging the inquiry’. Neil’s also brought in the lawyer who backed Sheffield United, Ian Mill QC, to fight QPR’s corner, but this, according to Warnock, is where the similarities with the Tevez saga end.
You see, back in 2007 there was no specific rule to bar clubs from third party ownership, with West Ham’s charges based around them entering into an agreement with another party who could influence their use of the player.
That has now changed, but when QPR signed Faurlin in what they claimed was a £3.5 million deal (despite Instituto saying they received diddly squat) in the summer of 2009 the rules had not been adopted by the Football League, which must surely mean there was no rule to break? Straight forward right? No. You see the Football League fell into line with the Premier League at the start of this season – when QPR applied to buy the outright ownership of the midfielder. This is when the FA smelt a rat.
Now there seems to be (as there always is in law) a very large grey area here and there’s going to be a lot of ‘he said’ ‘she said’ before we get the final result on Friday. The whole case is going to centre on exactly what QPR told the authorities in 2009, both in terms of the player’s contract and the intricate details of his transfer. Faurlin had affectively come to the end of a leasing arrangement from his true owners, three Argentine agents, and as such they had no economic rights. However, there are the possible and alleged ‘illegal payments’ made to an unlicensed agent that will get the R’s in hot water like Luton Town not that long ago.
We’ll find out on Friday what the dickens is going on, and there seems to be so many possible outcomes that even spread betters couldn’t keep up. They could be docked 15 points, seven points, or nine, or just fined, or both. In fact anything can happen and it’s putting the whole league into a tight spot.
No one wants a disciplinary hearing to take place in the final week of the season. So what is the FA playing at?? The FA has been looking into the deal for six months. Why is it taking so long? If QPR are docked points they will appeal, which will take even more time – way after the season has finished and clubs won’t know if they’re champions, in the play offs or what. The Championship play-offs are due to begin on May 12, which will be impossible should an appeal be necessary.
If the Football League cannot get the play-off final staged on the 30th of May as planned, a two-week international break follows which could easily rob the finalists of key players. That would make the 12th of June the next available date for a final – six days before the new season’s fixture list should be published.
There is talk that QPR will be docked points, but this will only be applicable from the start of next season. I’d be interested to hear what QPR fans would prefer. Docked points now and have to be promoted through the play-offs (which they of course would have a very good chance of winning) or docked points at the beginning of their most important season for more than 15 years? There’s no doubt that QPR can beat any Championship opposition. I saw them play on Boxing Day when they ran rings around Swansea, so if point docking is the punishment surely they would prefer to lose those points now?
We’ll just have to wait and see, but one thing I do know, no matter the result, not everyone will be happy, and the FA will have still made a complete balls up of the whole affair.