QPR ??? whose relegation to the Championship was confirmed when they lost 6-0 to Manchester City on Sunday ??? filed accounts in March showing a loss of ??9.8m during their last season in the Football League.
But that figure was reached by writing off loans of ??60m, a move that might not be permitted under Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.
The club could have a fine of ??58m hanging over them if they are found guilty of breaches, but it is possible QPR could be kicked out of the Football League altogether if they don’t pay up, and have to start life again in the Conference.??
Football League FFP regulations were introduced in 2012 to ???reduce the levels of losses being incurred at some clubs and, over time, establish a league of financially self-sustaining professional football clubs???.
There is some leeway regarding certain losses, such as investment in youth infrastructure, but even though QPR???s owners are willing to write off the loans, operating losses brought about by high wages mean they could still fall foul of FFP.
But QPR are challenging the legality of the Football League rules.
In a statement the club said: ???Legal proceedings are ongoing between Queens Park Rangers and the Football League. QPR challenges the legality of the Football League???s Championship Financial Fair Play Rules and any charge against QPR (if any) for breach of FFP Rules shall not be commenced pending the outcome of that challenge.??
???The proceedings are confidential in nature and neither party is entitled to comment upon the proceedings until the independent arbitral panel has delivered its decision.???
Clubs that are still within the Football League that break FFP rules can be punished with various sanctions, including the deduction of points and transfer embargoes restricting further activity.
However, the only means with which to provide a deterrent for those clubs promoted outside of the Football League was to fine them.
There is no precedent for a club in QPR???s situation returning to the Championship and Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey has refused to rule out the prospect of QPR being kicked out of the professional game if they do not pay the fine.
Financial expert David Bick told Sky Sports News HQ: “This relates to the season before last when they eventually recorded losses of ??65m and that included some ??41m spent on player transfers ??? a horrendous loss at that level of football. And that is what will be the subject of Football League sanctions.”
Asked of the sanctions could involve being kicked out of the Football League he said: “I think it could. If they challenge, or refuse to pay the fine they could be refused entry into the Football League… which means in theory they could end up in the Conference.
“That will clearly be part of the Football League’s negotiations with them when it comes to applying the fine.”
Bick says QPR stand to lose up to ??150m in the first year out of the Premier League.??
“Let’s assume, let’s say, a ??50m fine. In the Championship they will have a parachute payment,” he said. “But they’ll immediately be hit by a loss of ??65m, ??66m from not being in the Premier League, from just the media rights.
“Add on to that a loss of season ticket sales, ticket prices will have to go down, merchandise sales will be lost, sponsorship income will be lost. Purely on the basis of my estimates, the loss in year one could be ??130-150m. It’s all cash. It’s horrendous.”??