A claim by Queens Park Rangers that the English Football League's 2012 Financial Fair Play Rules were unlawful has been dismissed by a panel.
The London club were fined for breaking spending limits after their promotion to the Premier League in 2014.
An arbitration panel has also ruled the undisclosed fine, anticipated to be as much as £58m, was not disproportionate.
QPR, now in the Championship, say they intend to appeal the decision, which comes after a three-year battle.
Rangers exceeded limits
Under the Football League's 2012 rules, Championship clubs were permitted losses of £8m in 2013-14, with clubs promoted to the Premier League subject to a fine if they exceeded that figure.
After a sliding scale of fines on losses between £8m and £18m, losses above £18m would be punished by a fine imposed on a strict pound-for-pound basis.
QPR's actual loss for the 2013-14 campaign, in which they won the Championship play-off final, was £9.8m.
However, then-owner Tony Fernandes, now co-chairman, and other shareholders also wrote off £60m in loans as an "exceptional item".
EFL clubs have since agreed upon a new set of FFP regulations, which allow losses of £39m over a three-season period,
Rangers chief executive Lee Hoos said the Loftus Road club were "understandably disappointed" with the arbitration panel's decision and would consider their options.