THE SWINDON Town board will sit down in the next few days in an attempt to free the club from its current transfer embargo.
The Robins were banned from registering new players recently after they breached the Financial Fair Play wage cap in League One.
After a tribunal panel ordered Town to pay the combined £340,000 due to Shrewsbury and Exeter for James Collins and Troy Archibald-Henville up front, rather than in separate instalments as the club had budgeted for, Swindon’s projected expenditure on wages and fees rose 1.5 per cent above the 65 per cent-of-turnover maximum dictated by new legislation brought in this season to combat excess spending.
Swindon voted in favour of the Financial Fair Play plans when they were proposed to the Football League member clubs, and chairman Jeremy Wray told the Advertiser that the current situation is not something fans need to worry about.
“The board will discuss it this week and we’ll see what we can do to get it resolved,” he said.
“What is important is that Paolo is able to do his job properly. Clearly he has got enough players to make a team at the moment, what he was saying on Saturday is – with recent injuries – he feels he wants to have the option to dip into the transfer market.
“The truth is we will deal with it as is appropriate. It’s not a problem.”
There are various options available to the Town board as they look to balance the books and free up manager Paolo Di Canio’s options in the transfer market.
Firstly, the Robins could send some of their own players out on loan, with those clubs taking the individuals in question on paying a percentage of their wages.
However, this is unlikely to recoup Swindon much more than £10,000 a month per player and, with Di Canio nursing his squad through various injuries at present and with a first-team roster of just 23 names available to him, it could be a little foolish of Town to allow other clubs to borrow their playing assets.
Secondly, Wray and the County Ground board could consider returning some of those players currently on loan in Wiltshire back to their parent clubs.
Giles Coke is already back at Sheffield Wednesday receiving treatment on a foot injury and John Bostock has not featured much under Di Canio since joining from Tottenham at the end of August, and sending both back could theoretically take a slice off the Swindon wage bill.
However, it is likely that an agreement would have to be reached with Sheffield Wednesday or Tottenham for such a course of action to take place.
And, while Coke’s knock may speed up proceedings, Di Canio spoke recently about his desire to work with Bostock if the playmaker added a more selfless side to his game. The fact that the Italian pursued Bostock throughout the summer goes to suggest that he will not part easily with the midfielder.
In the event that Jay McEveley picks up an injury, Federico Bessone is the only natural left-back available to Di Canio while - with captain Alan McCormack injured - Darren Ward provides experienced cover at the heart of defence, and the Town boss is unlikely to allow either to be returned to their parent clubs.
Any cash injection from the club’s investors would not count towards the turnover figure and therefore only extra, unbudgeted revenue from ticket sales, sponsorship, prize money or TV rights would push Swindon’s expenditure back down below the 65 per cent threshold.
The next, and most obvious, chance for this to happen comes in the shape of the Capital One Cup fourth–round tie against Aston Villa on October 30.
Town missed out on £120,000 when Sky Sports and Capital One overlooked the clash for live broadcast but, should the Robins edge past the Premier League side and set up a tie with another big team in the quarter-finals, then the unbudgeted cash injection from that series of events would almost certainly hand them the capital to pull back inside the financial restraints.
Whatever the solution, Wray has insisted that the board have the issue in hand.