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Football clubs warned: sort your finances or pay the price

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: June 14, 2012

Dennis Strudwick wants to stop the boom and bust culture.

Dennis Strudwick wants to stop the boom and bust culture.

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Plans to crackdown on overspending clubs by policing their finances will help create a "level playing field", a top league chief has insisted.

The Echo can reveal how the Football Conference wants to enforce financial fair play across its three divisions by monitoring their budgets.

Under proposals, that would affect Lincoln City, Boston United and Gainsborough Trinity, budgets will have to be filed with the league for inspection.

Those who do not comply, or send their figures in late, risk punishment which could end in a transfer embargo.

In an exclusive interview with the Echo, Conference General Manager, Dennis Strudwick, said he is keen to stop the boom and bust culture.

"These rules will help create a level playing field and not only that, they will give clubs extra protection," he said.

"We cannot police accounts in extreme detail, but if clubs are going to make a loss then we want to know the measures they have in place to offset it.

"Loans from directors are all well and good, but they will want them back and in some instances they can actually be recalled at any time.

"There have been clubs who have fallen by the wayside as a result and that is what we want to stop."

It is understood Lincoln were among the majority of clubs eager to ratify the move which was the leading subject of the league's AGM at Celtic Manor last weekend.

However, because of concerns that some clubs rely on directors' loans rather than self-funding, the proposals are back under revision.

A conclusion is now expected at the Conference's EGM early next year, although it is widely accepted that it is a matter of when, not if, the new rules will come into force.

In the meantime, all Blue Square Bet Premier teams have been asked to submit a budget for examination.

Lincoln remain confident of meeting the league's expectation despite losing a £225,000 solidarity payment for this season from the Football League.

That has been helped by reducing the playing budget, trimming the number of staff and having a squad of 20 players, five of whom are from the club's youth set-up.

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