The Football League Paper - - MARATHON BET -

IF YOU were try­ing to avoid a trans­fer em­bargo, would you go out and spend £5.5m on Britt As­som­ba­longa?

Or £1.5m on a Michail An­to­nio? Or hand out hefty con­tracts to for­mer Premier League play­ers and es­tab­lished stars.

Of course not. So it is lit­tle won­der that Stu­art Pearce says the sanc­tions im­posed on Not­ting­ham For­est this week “change noth­ing”.

With a wage bill up over £20m last sea­son, For­est owner Fawaz Al-Ha­sawi must have known it would be im­pos­si­ble to com­ply with Fi­nan­cial Fair Play rules and push for the Premier League. With losses limited to £8m in 2013-14, he’d have needed to jet­ti­son half the squad.

Bet­ter, he rea­soned, to throw his wal­let at it be­fore the rules kicked in. So that’s what he did, build­ing a bomb-proof 30-man squad that – when fit – is ar­guably the strong­est in the di­vi­sion.

The up­side is that For­est are more than ca­pa­ble of rid­ing through a cou­ple of trans­fer win­dows. The down­side is that they haven’t got a hope of com­ply­ing with FFP in years.

So when Pearce says pro­mo­tion to the Premier League is now “more im­por­tant”, he means it is ab­so­lutely im­per­a­tive.

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