AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has criticised the Football League’s Financial Fair Play rules, claiming the current regulations will prevent the rise of smaller clubs.
The south-coast side have enjoyed a dream rise from the brink of financial ruin in League Two to the Premier League, climbing the divisions in just six seasons.
However, Bournemouth – co-owned by Russian businessman Maxim Demin – are facing “a financial sanction to be finalised in due course” having exceeded the maximum permitted deviation of £6million from a combination of adjusted losses and shareholder investment in their submission for 2014-15.
Bournemouth have beaten Premier League heavyweights Chelsea and Manchester United in their first season in the Premier League, but Howe believes the threat of FFP punishment will prevent smaller clubs from following their lead.
“If you go back through the history of football there will be great stories where teams have achieved great things from an owner or a benefactor or whatever you want to call it. They have enabled that side to push onto great things,” Howe said.
“What the FFP structure will do is stop the underdog, the smaller team having the chance to succeed and I do not think anyone will want to see that – the rich get richer and the smaller clubs struggle to compete.
“It is a very delicate balance and something football needs to think about before anybody goes in a certain direction.”
Howe stated that Bournemouth, whose Vitality Stadium has a 11,464 capacity, have to spend above their means to achieve success.
“We have got an ambitious owner, we’ve an ambitious club that want to move forward. I’m sorry, at this level and Championship level our income is nowhere near enough to achieve success,” he added.
“Unfortunately you do have to spend a little bit to give yourself a chance of that. Yes, we have spent above our means regarding those rules, but only down to the limited income of the club due to the capacity of the ground.
“I think we do not want a league table that picks itself, we want that smaller club that can still achieve great things. I do not think there is anything wrong, if people have the money and they are willing to put it into a football club.
“Success is possible up to a certain point – we had a year-long transfer embargo – but then you do need to invest. You are not going to get promoted into the Premier League without some investment.”
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