Often Partisan

Lifting the Embargo

At 125 days and counting, the current transfer embargo against Birmingham City remains the only stumbling block left preventing the club from properly getting ready for the new season. There has been much discussion online as to what the embargo means, and what Blues need to do to get it lifted.

I’ve covered the technical aspects of the embargo in a factfile I’ve posted here. The essence of it remains that Blues cannot register any new player without approval from the FA. There has been lots of discussion with respect to the ease that Blues would obtain such approval; whilst Peter Pannu was quite bullish in his statement about it I will admit I am much more sceptical myself based on the soundings I’ve taken.

Of course, the key to it all is getting the embargo lifted. Whilst Blues may be able to sign players with it in place it would be much easier for all concerned if the embargo wasn’t there. The key question is what Blues have to do to do this – and again, this is down to interpretation of the rules and how harsh the FL choose to be in this situation.

It’s my understanding that Blues have been in fairly close contact with the league, and have presented an argument that the club is in a good enough financial shape that the accounts of the parent company BIHL are not required to be presented for the embargo to be lifted. The argument does make sense; in the 12 months since the previous accounting period ended, Blues have not entered administration; they have not defaulted on any tax, transfer fees or wages and have been running if not on a completely even keel, at least on a break-even basis. With the money that has come in from the sales of Jordon Mutch and Ben Foster coupled with the compensation received for Chris Hughton one would think that Blues may well have done enough to cover themselves cashflow-wise for the whole of the coming season.

As with any sensitive financial situation, the club aren’t going to be able to comment much about it until the embargo is finally lifted; likewise the league have a policy of not discussing the embargo to the point that they refuse to confirm or deny if one is even in place. Like any situation where there is a lack of information rumour and doubt will surface and people will worry; my personal scepticism is based on a personal fear that league will treat us to the letter of the rules and thus insist on accounts from the parent company in Hong Kong – accounts that I cannot see being forthcoming in the near future.

All we can do is hope; it’s been a constant refrain over the last twelve months but we really do have to wait and see what happens and hope that the club will be able to give us some indication in the near future that things have been or will be sorted out.

Edit: 15:00 4 July 2012

The club have confirmed that the embargo has now been lifted.

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70 Responses to “Lifting the Embargo”

  • oldburyblue says:

    When will we get help from the FA and League instead of obstacles all the time? Are we that disliked…like England clearly are by FIFA and UEFA?

    • almajir says:

      It’s not for the league or the FA to help us – it’s BIH’s fault we are in this mess and to be honest it’s down to them to get us out of it.

      • Mickey07 says:

        Any chance of Carson yeung or anybody connected to bihl at least having the balls to say “SORRY” to us supporters after what they have/been putting us through over the last 12 months???it’s never ending….

      • oldburyblue says:

        Of course it is BIHL who have got us in this mess…but all I ask is that The FA and FL meet us somewhere near half-way. Business is about buying and selling. Sell all your stock without adequate replacement and you will soon go bust. To my mind The FA and FL are NOT helping.

  • I must say you should really be the sports editor for the evening mail as you are up front,honest
    And genuinely deal in fact not fiction.
    You must have some good contacts as you generally first with the news.

  • Gren 1875 says:

    Talking of transfers would anyone take Roger Johnson back for a small fee?


  • Letsby Avenue says:

    Sorry mate, must diasggree here….

    “….With the money that has come in from the sales of Jordon Mutch and Ben Foster coupled with the compensation received for Chris Hughton one would think that Blues may well have done enough to cover themselves cashflow-wise for the whole of the coming season…..”

    I make that about £10 million (even it it is all paid up front.)
    With £16 million in 2 payments (August & February) being parachuted on us…without any TV, ticket or maketing revenue that gives us £26 million to clear a £12 million debt, bring in AND PAY new players, week by week, month by month.
    Pay tax & NI, admin and Wast staff etc etc.

    The money from Chris, Jordon and Ben would keep us going for about 3-4 months.
    Or put it another way, it could wipe out our debt (As Yeung & BIHL are not presing for repayment this year)

    The hand-to-mouth cashflow will come from tickets and merchandising and that will be affected by on field success.
    I’m hoping that the money already raised or promised can service our debt and some can also be re-invested in assets like players.

    But, I fear we are a couple or more sales away from having done enough for cash flow DOR THE WHOLE SEASON.
    This year we don’t half the revenue earners to sell on. I’m too scared to think where we might actually be going in “eye-popping” sales. I fear Jack is a goner


  • matt says:

    I’d be more concerened about losing redmond how can we fear losing a player that has never played for us?

    • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

      Because he was considered good enough to go out to the Euros with the first team squad

      Unlike Nath

    • nicky wicky says:

      god have you been reading the sun or mirror. all you seem to hear is doom and gloom like the rubbish they write! Last year blues had to sell cause they had massive debts. this year they are set tomake a profit,but that is going to pay off the rest of the debts that the player sales didn’t cover. They have already come out and said that Redmond Butland and Davies are not for sale unless they get eye-popping offers. that means big numbers,,and no-body except man city and Chelsea has got that kind of money,and why would they pay that for a kid when they can get an experienced player for the same money?

  • Aussiebrum says:

    Letsby, we don’t have to repay the 12 million.

    That was funds from a related party (two shareholders) and I would expect if the club is sold that will form part of the negotiated settlement. You won’t find it paid out of current revenue and nor should it be.

    • Letsby Avenue says:

      Thank You Aussie mate

      Actually…….. that is what I said.

      “Neither BIHL nor Carson are seeking immediate repayment. For those loans.”

      OK ?

      Those 2 loans are not dependant on the club being sold…
      ….get a grip mate !

      Think sensibly,. £10 million whether it’s paid up front (doubt it) – or over a season or two – is not going to give us a cash-flow, to see this seaosn out. You KNOW that mate, why try and be obscure ? Try English !

      My point is that AL is being either amatuerish -(which I doubt) – or setting Pannu up for a fall, when we have to have “eye-poppong” sales of Burke and Butland.

      ‘Cos that is all we have left really…….

      Cash-flow for a year, from a £10m sale, is really in the realms of fantasy.

      For someone as sharp as Mr Ivery, this hints at another agenda….

      Sorry, again, but I stick by my post

      I think that it’s the latter.

      Th e “jewells” go…and Al is surpeised

  • MikeF says:

    first with the news? hmmm…..just what we all know and gleaned from rules and regulations. could do with some proper news tbh

  • cecilFW says:

    I think the main concerns here are twofold. Firstly the accounts have not been properly signed off due to the unexplained irregularities. In my view the recent director exit was an attempt to push the blame onto him, but no-one is going to believe that this went on under Pannu’s nose without him knowing, to believe this would indicate a complete lack of control – even more serious. Secondly Yeung has made loans to BCFC and as his assets are being frozen, obviously with a view to recovering the laundered money, there is every chance that these loans will be passed to the creditors and called – in. If this happened then BCFC is in administration.

    So the best tack we can take is to argue that if we let player X go for 2M can we bring in players Y and Z for 1M each, thereby having no nett effect on the position.

    • nicky wicky says:

      cecil mate the blues are not going into admin stop reading the sun it’s bad for your health. blues are not cash strapped,hard up, desperate for money. they have the cash flow for the season,and the loans are deferrred till a later date. they may be written off if he is convicted!

  • Blueboy 88 says:

    If the FL do require the BIHL accounts then we are deep in the doggy doos….
    But is there an expectation within the FL to receive these accounts before lifting the embargo ?
    And there within lies the crux of this matter…

    It is the complete lack of clarity around this transfer embargo that infuriates.

    There just seems to be so many different permatations around –
    Why it was sanctioned..
    How it can be relaxed…
    How it can be lifted….
    When it will be resolved……etc etc

    With the transfer window now open a statement of fact is now required from the club , sanctioned by the FL answering clearly & concisely these questions.

    If PP only learnt one thing last week , surely it is , if you leave a vacum of silence , it will be filled by others speculation & rumour….one clear statement can avoid all that at a stroke…

  • mitchell says:

    Facts and transparency from Pannu and our board? It could happen I suppose……….

  • KeeprightCroydON says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Blueboy 88.

    PP should have learnt from the previous silence the repercussions that ensue. His last statement was widely welcomed lifting a lot of the doom and gloom. It included something about discussions with the league which he was confident would at least allow transfers on a case by case basis even if the embargo remained. He gave the impression that this was imminent. But time has passed, nothing has happened on this front, it’s gone quite again, and fans are getting anxious once more.

    Come on PP, you did a good PR job with your last statement. Now would be a good time to back words with action, or at least give a progress report. Even if it is to say that you’ve encountered an obstacle and working on overcoming it, it is preferable to silence. Any decent PR person would advise this.

  • J.jennings says:

    I’d like to think that the sale of big Ben was for 2 reasons, 1) the £4 mil was needed, 2) make way for butland, also I would like to believe the sale of Mutch & foster was to keep the ship afloat, to attract other investors

  • asher says:

    Why won’t they just disclose the info so e can move on we are saving money in some ways but loosing money and players on the sale side. BIH fix up Butland for number 1 and keep Burke pls pls pls

  • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

    The chances are that if the FL has requested BIHL’s accounts, the embargo will not be lifted anytime soon – as Almajir has quite correctly stated. PP’s statement which covered the point that we could sign players with FL authorisation, may have been a disingenuous attempt to say that we would probably get 2-3 players to help formulate some sort of squad and with the academy players that were given professional contracts, this would more than likely be our lot for the start of the season at least.

    Nobody has signed yet because LC has just come in and will no doubt be identifying his targets. He will more than likely be working on the same sort of basis that CH was one year ago. At the very least the club will argue that we need those 2-3 players to augment a team for a matchday squad. It could be said that dispensation will be given to Blues by the FL, simply because BIHL’s accounts are not the responsibility of BCFC and if PP does his duty, which he will more than likely do in a robust manner that is his trademark, he will show the FL that the club has attempted to cover all its bases financially. The embargo will probably remain for some time but we will still get players in. Expect news such as which took place before the embargo was placed when we carried out triple signings in one swoop. There will be no toing and froing from Blues to the FL. Too messy and time – consuming.

    Until CY’s case is resolved, the bigger and more important question of ownership and future direction will not be decided. It is plain that he will not be giving the club up without a fight to the bitter end – regardless of how we feel about it. The uncertainty shall linger on.

    In the interim, we have the basis of a very good team and there is room for optimism on the playing front. With our current players – fully fit – we will score goals and keep clean sheets. We have half a dozen players who would get into most Championship teams easily.

    As we have not really banded together to provide a united front to BIHL and co and we can’t really all agree on what means and steps we should take, we will have to accept that the present situation will take its course and we will have to abide by it.

  • colin farmer says:

    In a competion of 26 teams, you cannot have 25 teams operating from one set of rules and one (blues) working from a differant set ,the embargo is a farce, Blues finances are no worse than most football clubs!!the football club should consider taking legal action to get the embargo lifted or at a last resort start the season with not enough players that should throw a spanner in the works.

    • almajir says:

      24 teams ;)

      I think the other 23 would complain that Blues got preferential treatment if the FL did something to give Blues favour. The fact is we broke the rules and we have to comply to the them. It’s no one else’s fault but Blues (and more importantly BIH’s)

  • Daddybluenose says:

    I have a question for you al what does this info mean is it just another useless bit of info that BIHL come up with to keep the HK sweet while the accounts get sorted? I have no idea what it means but I’d like to know any info is something…http://www.hkex.com.hk/eng/csm/ShowNews.asp?mkt=hk&FileName=http://www.hkexnews.hk/listedco/listconews/sehk/2012/0703/LTN20120703597.pdf

  • alexjhurley says:

    Yes, after being “spoiled” by the progress last week, we’re all getting nervous that there’s been no movement on this embargo.

    I think both “Atahualpa is a BlueNose” and Almajir have hit the nail on the head – it won’t be easy to get signings done, but with only 14 (?) senior pro’s, last years “substantial profit” , the recent windfall from CH,BF and JM, I’d back Pannu to negotiate a sensible outcome with the FL. You can say what you like about the bloke – he definately knows how to negotiate a good deal.

    I’m more worried that we haven’t signed Carr (and to a lesser extent, Doyle). Given the money that’s come in and the positive noises all parties seemed to be making last week, why;s it taking so long. I know Carr won’t be cheap but if we’re haggling with him over a few grand a week that’s not a good sign. Unless he’s waiting to see who we sign/what other offers he gets before committing……..

    KRO and SOTV.

  • Rednal62 says:

    Transfer embargo lifted


  • Terryblue says:

    Transfer embargo lifted – see BCFC at 15.06

  • idl says:

    Transfer Embargo Lifted!

    Seriously Al, are you really Peter Pannu? You seem to write a blog about a problem (and get some of our stupider supporters all riled up) and then as if by magic Pannu sorts the problem…

  • KRO21 says:

    Embargo lifted! .. Onwards and upwards!


  • Blue in Spain says:

    Just when we were thinking it’s all gone quiet again! Great News!!

  • James Black says:

    Ok are u happy campers now. knee jerk reactions are akin to old ladies talking sh*t. just allow events to take there course. seen so much knee jerking lately im amazed anyone can actually walk.

  • jazzzy786 says:

    Excellent News. Come on you Blues.

  • Barry says:

    All this recent good news isn’t good for me. May seriously have to go and find another club to support if I’m to remain sad and miserable. Looks as if it will have to be Glasgow Rangers!

  • Jay Sidney says:

    James Black’s recent posting warning against knee-jerk reactions is timely because the club is still owned by people who cannot take Blues forward.

    However, the lifting of the transfer embargo is GREAT news because it has at least removed one of a number of roadblocks which are currently holding Blues back.

    One thing at a time is some sort of progress.

    • James Black says:

      Jay not quite wat i meant. I dont see the board as enemies of the people just people that made mistakes. But im with you in the desire to move forward.

      • James Black says:

        Jay i accept my view is not a popular one but i really believe that running the club as any business should be run is actually taking us forward. Many think yet again that the answer is in a fat rich owner with so much money he will be prepared to lose millions by bringing in big names and huge wages. Fine for the lucky few that have that backing but nearly all football clubs as purely a business fail. Realism is the best way forward and i don’t believe throwing cash around will be any kind of long term solution. Then the owner gets tired of it and cuts back and the fans want to lynch them forgetting what they spent in the first place. How many big clubs have been there and the fans always turn on them when the owners cannot go on endlessly throwing away cash. I would never buy a football club in a million years as your only popular for 2 seasons. Then you look at the accounts and realize what a fool you have been and hated by thousands for trying.

        • Jay Sidney says:


          I don’t know if a multi-billionaire is on the horizon for Blues. Probably not and we can agree that speculation does not help.

          However, I too look to reason and believe it is reasonable to conclude that the current owners of BCFC have proven that they can barely even sustain the club, let alone take it forward.

  • mitchell says:

    Great news; give LC some cash and hopefully we can make a decent challenge this season.


  • Jay Sidney says:

    Good thought, Mitchell, but where is this cash? Is it likely to be Bosman signings for LC?

    • James Black says:

      the cash as u put it might well be used up in running a football club, a very costly business by any stretch of the imagination. Its not all abt buying players there are wages and many other costs which most businesses have. Lets not forget that every penny brought in goes into the bank for a rainy day. There are massive costs to running a football club even b4 we get into transfers. Stewards, ground staff, training facilities, medical staff as well as cleaners and police costs. Its not all abt banking transfer and compensation money. The club probably has to pay out in one day wat we pay in a year for its bills. Probably more.

  • Paulo says:

    Finally the transfer embargo has been lifted.
    ..Now it seems PP is going to continue being thrifty and frugal with the club’s money, so it’s no surprise that it will be another year of free’s and bosmans and the like! (after renewing contracts)
    My biggest concern is that we are thinner on the ground now than we were leading up to the play off’s, which didn’t help us at all, so it all sounds similar to this time last year really.

    • James Black says:

      Paulo i sort of agree but i believe that we are doing it right. Have you seen the debt of even Manchester UTD Over 300 million im told. One day the poop is gonna hit the fan as its propped up with TV money and without it all them big clubs will fall. If Manchester Utd cant make a profit and are actually owing that much then doesn’t it make a good argument to remain frugal and prudent. Why start the cycle off again. I actually don’t want us to go out and spend big and pay big wages again end end up with no more fans and go through all this again. In time we will emerge as a stable club ahead of many others. If we go down the road of other clubs then the pattern will just continue and 5 or 10 years later be on our knees again. To hell with big wages and big transfer signings. I don’t want us to be that kind of club.

      • maurice walters says:

        good call James there are plenty of bosmans available (players looking for work i dont feel a bit sorry for then)over payed and under worked get the players that are hungry KRO BLUES

      • Paulo says:

        Totally agree with you 100% James, and I did notice that when the mighty Man U got knocked out of the Champions league then the Europa league ..they lost a whole load of money! which just shows how much they relied on TV and ticket sales for only a handfull of matches!
        I too hope we dont turn into a club like that, and PP being prudent at the moment maybe just that ..keeping us above water until we get investment, and yes I have to agree with you that we are doing it right ..it’s a business above all else, and someone must have done something right for us to prove we made profit and can be self sustaining currently, and maybe for sometime ..but hopefully not for too long.

  • Flying Dotor says:

    Whilst it is good news that the embargo has been lifted, does anyone know if the BIHL accounts have been published? My understanding was that the FL approve BIHL accounts then embargo is lifted. I have seen nothing that equates to that.

    • almajir says:

      No, the bihl accounts have not been published. It appears that BCFC have convinced the FL that they are not needed.

      • Flying Dotor says:

        i noticed that Coventry had there embargo lifted in similar circumstances. Not impressive on the FL’s behalf if they allow member clubs to ignore their own rules

  • Mickey07 says:

    Agreed paulo we are much weaker than when the season ended,plus throw into the mix dave Watson leaving…..mid table blues……just wish this takeover would get a move on…tatts must have a clue who they are,he knows it’s not Tata or Singapore airlines,so what does he know?? Mayor do you know who are interested in us?

    • Paulo says:

      I wonder sometimes though, did dave Watson actually do anything with Boaz Myhill??? because unlike Colin Doyle, Myhill just seemed to let us down too easily, and I’m sure Doyle gave us many moments to remember!
      I think that regular match time will improve Doyle even more, and Butland hasn’t even had a first team match yet …too much hype.
      Although Dave Watson is considered fantastic, his magic wouldn’t have worked if the keeper was a shmuck in the first place really.

      Well, here’s to whoever gets the job and hope we have some entertaining keeping and playing this season …and loads to natter on about.


      • BhamCityJulian says:

        Myhill is passable at level 2; you can see the defence has little confidence in Doyle because they rarely give him the ball and would rather kick it into touch

  • Mickey07 says:

    Are you sure mayor?? Or are you keeping your cards close too your chest??you would let us know wouldn’t you if you knew anything?

  • Jay Sidney says:

    Is this stuff about a takeover at Blues just talk and rumours? Is there any actual evidence to show it is any more than that?

    I hasten to add I hope there is more than just talk but first let’s see and hear something concrete and not just speculation.

  • steve stretton says:

    lift off we can now wheel & deal all i would say to blues fans is give clark a chance because i think some of the signings might be WHO ARE YA as in never heard of him clark knows the lower leagues let him bring em in & give them a chance i think it will be good news at the end of the season.

  • James Black says:

    I have no idea about takeovers and only when it happens will i take any notice of that kind of talk. But if it ever does happen i hope that the new owners don’t start making promises and pledges that they cant keep too as has been the case at Blues. It only gives the fans stones to throw at a later date when they realize the huge expense of running a football club and have to go back on there word. Many years ago Blues rightly improved its youth set up and correct me if im wrong but it is paying dividends and it could well be what makes us a great club in the future. We will never have Man City type backing nor is there a Russian Oligarch gonna take us on so for me feet need to be kept firmly on the ground. frankly i wouldn’t ant to be a Man City or a Chelsea with no soul. I can never come to terms with anyone earning 65k plus a week and his wages paid for out of our pockets. I often wonder why people don’t get upset with the players and always turn on the owners. wages is what is draining football clubs and it may be an unpopular view but id rather have a team of kids that don’t rob us.

  • Jay Sidney says:

    Where is the proof that the vast majority of professional footballers earn £65k plus a week or anything even close to it? I would have thought the small percentage of players who are in that wage bracket are benefitting more from the TV money currently sloshing around in the game (plus a very smart agent) than any other single factor.

    Who knows what may happen if or when the plug is pulled on TV money, as some think will happen?

  • Jay Sidney says:

    A couple of years back when ex-Blues winger Gordon Taylor was one of the main leaders of the Professional Footballers’ Association, that organisation published a report showing how several hundred of its members were earning £0 inside football because, although registered as professional players, they were not in employment.

    For every Wayne Rooney or Torres (i.e. top earners) there are probably many players who don’t earn much above the average wage.

    • james Black says:

      Jay you make a very fair point and i admit maybe i was quoting the highset earners as if they was a norm and it is quite right to point out the the majority don’t earn those figures. Basically we should and will pay what we can afford and make the best of them It may mean no notable or exciting signings but thats fine by me for now at least.

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