Nottingham Forest chairman Nicholas Randall QC has suggested that the current financial rules placed on Championship clubs means that the Reds are forced to cash in on their most talented players coming through their academy.
The Reds have seen numerous talented players come into their side from the academy in recent years and show some promising form only to be swiftly signed by clubs operating in a bigger league with more financial resources. The likes of Oliver Burke and Arvin Appiah have both been moved on recent years and Matty Cash was the latest player to exit the City Ground last summer.
That has helped the club balance the books and try to stay within the limits of permitted losses of no more than £39 million spread over the course of three seasons. Whilst they are not able to secure promotion it will be one of the most crucial assets the club has of raising money that can then be recycled back into the squad with signings from elsewhere.
Speaking to supporters in a Q and A, Randall suggested that the Reds are powerless to keep hold of some of their most influential academy players because the current financial rules force them to cash in on such players. He believes that it is an unfair approach given the size of the club and that if they could do Forest would do more to keep hold of players such as Cash.
He said: “People don’t realise the impact of the tough decisions we have to make when we sell players.
“It’s difficult for people to realise this, but we have a lot of sympathy when some people say, ‘why are you selling your young talent?’. I agree 100 percent. We don’t want to do that, but we’re forced to do that by the system, effectively.
“One of the things that annoys me the most about the unfair distribution within the leagues is, if you are a Championship club, even like Nottingham Forest – a very, very big club in the Championship – we are not able to properly develop and grow players. This is a huge problem for us
“As soon as our players begin to show real talent, they get on the radars of Premier League clubs, who are already hoarding talent. They can attract those players; they can turn their minds and their heads. They have the resources to be able to attract them.
“We’re in a position where, in order to keep within our financial sustainability rules, we have to let those players go.
“It’s not right. It’s an unfair system.
“We have huge sympathy with that argument, that that’s the way football clubs should be allowed to run. But the current environment doesn’t enable that to happen. We are not alone in thinking that.
“What we have to do is, when the time comes when we have to sell a player, we have to make sure we get the absolute best deal for him that we possibly can.”
You can understand the frustrations from people at the top of football clubs the size of Nottingham Forest feeling that they have to at times cash in on players they would want to keep just to stay within the financial rules. However, the counter-argument is that those rules are there to prevent those clubs from being too reckless with their spending and not looking after losses.
The one way the club can get out of such a situation is by earning promotion to the Premier League, and that has been proving difficult in recent seasons. Chris Hughton though is the type of manager that has the potential to be able to take the club up if he is backed sensibly in the market and given the players he feels he needs.
Whether the rules are a little too harsh at the moment is open to debate, but I would say it would be difficult to change them just for certain clubs because of their size. That would make it difficult for the rest of the teams in the division to then compete with them. It is a situation that is not ideal for the Reds but one for now at least they will have to try their best to live with and try and get back into the top-flight.