What the papers say: Nottingham Forest and the PSR breach

After confirmation that Nottingham Forest are in breach of the Premier League’s Profitability and Sustainability Rules (PSR), the club await its fate. Here’s what the national newspapers had to say

The Guardian

When Nottingham Forest spent £150m in one transfer window in the summer of 2022, it was supposed to be a sign of ambition. It is not cheap being a Premier League club, and building a squad capable of staying up – never mind challenging for trophies – is an expensive business. But it also takes careful planning to assemble an elite team and when Forest ripped up that blueprint they accelerated the process that has led to a charge of breaching profit and sustainability rules.

The Premier League charge, which could lead to a points deduction, relates to a three-year period that includes Forest signing 31 players in the season after promotion. Strange as it may seem now, everything had started calmly in June 2022 when the club broke their transfer record to buy Taiwo Awoniyi from Union Berlin for about £17.5m. The striker was a marquee signing who went on to score the goals that, arguably, kept Forest up and, by Premier League standards, the cost was low for a capable No 9. Undoubtedly his price tag has risen since.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2024/jan/15/nottingham-forest-the-latest-club-in-crosshairs-over-football-short-termism

The Times

In the summer transfer window of 2022 you could almost set your watch by a Nottingham Forest signing. The club brought in 22 new faces — more than the equivalent of a transfer every four days.

In that window they needed to spend. In every press conference Steve Cooper, the head coach at the time, was left repeating the same points and defending those above him as more and more players came through the door. Not only had 20 players from their promotion-winning squad departed, but Forest needed to bridge the gap in quality between the Championship and Premier League.

Forest’s total spend for that summer reached about £150 million. It was an outlay that reflected the ambition of Evangelos Marinakis, the club’s owner, and many would applaud his aspirations. Yet with Forest now charged by the Premier League for a single breach of its profit and sustainability rules for the three-year period ending in the 2022-23 season, was all of that spend really necessary?

Read more: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/nottingham-forest-owners-acted-like-children-in-a-sweet-shop-q0st77lsx

The Telegraph

Shortly after Nottingham Forest’s promotion to the Premier League was achieved, Evangelos Marinakis vowed to provide “the ammunition” to establish the club as a force in English football.

While no supporter could question his ambition, Marinakis’ grand plans always risked that ammunition being fired back at themselves.

Thirty signings arrived in a spend of around £150 million, after an unprecedented transfer assault that has ultimately resulted in the club being charged with breaching financial regulations.

Do the rules need changing? Absolutely. It is an unlevel playing field and strangles competitiveness.

Forest will argue that the rules limit billionaire owners like Marinakis from investing properly, and how the current process is all loaded towards the ‘big six’ who can rely on far greater commercial and matchday revenue.

Read more: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2024/01/15/nottingham-forest-premier-league-charge-30-signings/

The I

Towards the end of last season, when Steve Cooper and his players had extricated themselves from trouble with surprising dexterity and gave themselves a final-day party at the Palace, the song was repeated ad infinitum by Nottingham Forest supporters: “Thirty signings, who gives a f**k, the Reds are staying up”.

They knew then, deep down. Fans were drunk on Premier League survival and nobody could blame them for the merriment, but this was a joke 90 per cent at everyone else’s expense and 10 per cent at their own, a brief nod towards dark humour. Now we know who gives a f**k. Now we know why it mattered.

You can believe that the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules enable protectionism for the established elite, those clubs who have the highest revenue. You can believe that those rules are weighted against promoted clubs, because permitted losses allowed in Championship seasons (but still count in the Premier League calculation) are set lower.

Read more: https://inews.co.uk/sport/football/nottingham-forest-ffp-rules-chaos-2856418

The Mail

A few rough calculations were all that were needed to raise the alarm at Nottingham Forest. As more and more players were signed, employees started to wonder whether enough attention was being paid to Premier League spending rules.

On Monday they had their answer. Forest were charged with breaching the Premier League’s Financial Fair Play regulations, with a hearing to come. The outcome of that hearing may determine whether Forest compete in the Premier League or the Championship next season.

Everton were handed a 10-point penalty when they broke those rules and Forest face a nervous wait to learn their own punishment.

Yet few in football are surprised at this verdict. By bringing in 43 players for close to £300million in the last three transfer windows, Forest were always going to be sailing close to the wind.

A key plank of Forest’s defence will be the departure of homegrown star Brennan Johnson, who joined Tottenham for £47.5m last August – comfortably a club-record sale.

Read more: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-12964349/Nottingham-Forest-FFP-verdict-Premier-League.html

The Athletic

It is a strange, unsettling feeling to have Nottingham Forest as your team and think that, for the first time in the club’s 158-year history, the league table might have an asterisk against our name at the end of the season.

What that asterisk will say, we don’t know yet. That will become clearer in April once the punishment is announced and we get a better idea about the damage it could cause to Forest’s position in the Premier League.

All that can be said with certainty is that the announcement about Forest breaching profitability and sustainability rules (PSR) will be bombshell news for all the people inside the City Ground who had been assured by the chairman-turned-director, Nicholas Randall, that the club would never be in this position.

The players, the coaching staff and the manager, Nuno Espirito Santo, will be taking in the news that 15th-placed Forest could be torpedoed into the relegation places. Fans will be worrying. Mums and dads will be trying to explain to kids what PSR means and, no, that it was never something they mentioned when they were introducing them to this daft, infuriating sport. It is not a conversation any parent wants to have.

Read more: https://theathletic.com/5201583/2024/01/15/nottingham-forest-premier-league-charges/

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