League One side Swindon Town have confirmed that they have been hit by a transfer embargo. The Robins are, to our knowledge, the first club at third tier level to be penalised under the Football League's new Salary Cost Management Protocol (SCMP), more informally known as Salary Capping or Financial Fair Play. Whilst the rule has only been fully brought in for League One clubs for the 2012-13 season, Swindon will have been working under those rules last season as a League Two side.
The Robins have said that their breach of the rules has come about as a result of a transfer tribunal, that ordered them to pay out on two of the players that they recruited over the summer. Last month that tribunal ordered them to pay a total of £340,000 for Shrewsbury Town striker James Collins and Exeter City defender Troy Archibald-Henville. They indicate that transfer fees are included inside the SCMP regulations, and that as the tribunal stated that the amounts must be paid immediately, that this has taken them up to spending 66.5% of their turnover on wages and fees - 1.5% over the League's 65% limit. Swindon had been expecting (or perhaps hoping) that they would be able to pay out those fees over a period of time.
Chairman Jeremy Wray has told BBC Sport and the Swindon Gazette and Herald that the fact that the transfer window isn't currently open causes them a problem, and they may need to rely upon additional cup revenue to persuade the League to lift the block:
"If they had been straight-forward transfers then half of it would have been payable this year and the other half would have been payable in 12-months' time. As a result of the tribunal the whole amount is due now, so it's reflected in our wage cap and it takes us around 1.5% over the threshold. If it was during the transfer window we could sell players but we can't. The board now need to work out how we deal with this. There are ways to correct that. If we get a win against Aston Villa then thatís unbudgeted revenue and that would help greatly."
Although there have been no other League One clubs openly stating this, Wray claims that Swindon are not the only club with this sort of problem currently:
"It sounds very dramatic but there are several clubs under embargo throughout the bottom two leagues. The wage cap was deliberately introduced so clubs can only spend an amount of money. If you look down, we see the salary documents of other clubs, everyoneís pressing as much against the seams as they can. In terms of a wage cap itís about cash. As a result of the tribunal the whole amount is due and that is reflected in our wage cap calculations just for this year and that would take us over the threshold."
Swindon have indicated that former Yeovil Town striker Andy Williams is facing three weeks on the sidelines after he was substituted yesterday in their 1-0 win over Bury. They also have injuries to Alan McCormack and Gary Roberts and had hoped to use the emergency loan market to replace them.
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