EFL: Delay No More

Late on Thursday evening the Daily Telegraph published a story by John Percy confirming that the date of the disciplinary panel hearing into Blues’ breach of P&S regulations will be around the 26th February, with a verdict expected to be delivered this season.

Birmingham City FC

The Telegraph story can be read here, but the quotes I want to focus on are below.

The hearing will be either shortly before or after Birmingham’s game at Bristol City on February 26 and the EFL is pushing for a decision this season.

It might be a question of semantics and the meaning of the words “verdict” and “decision” in this piece but as written it’s ambiguous and as such is concerning.

The piece could mean that the EFL are pushing for whatever sanction is confirmed at the panel is implemented this season, even if Blues appeal the decision.

It makes sense to me that any punishment is implemented as quickly as possible now to ensure that Blues aren’t dramatically taken out of the playoffs – or worse dropped into the relegation zone with no time to pull themselves out.

Another worry however is that it could also mean that the disciplinary commission could take a while to even make a decision.

While the prospect of being deducted points isn’t great and the prospect of going from a promotion battle to a relegation struggle sounds horrible, the uncertainty caused by the delay in a decision is not helping us.

As of right now, Blues are not allowed to register any new signings under the terms of the announcement made by the EFL back in August.

Furthermore, there appears to be a lot of confusion over what contracts Blues can offer to existing players with the club complaining that information supplied by the EFL is contradictory.

That confusion over contracts has stalled Blues giving a new deal to captain Michael Morrison, who is out of contract at the end of the season and has ensured other players who might want new deals can’t even start negotiation.

While at this moment in time only clubs from outside of the EFL can offer Morrison a pre-contract under the Bosman ruling, that will change as of the end of the season and can only serve as a distraction to the long-serving defender.

This lack of clarity is a fairly harsh punishment in itself and I can understand why it’s further raised bad sentiments from Blues fans towards the EFL.

This is compounded by what seems to be a complete amount of disdain from the EFL towards confirming details of the process, leaving us as fans to rely on what journalists can drag out of contacts at the EFL off the record.

I honestly believe that the lack of detail being offered is completely unhelpful and only serves to exacerbate the bad feelings from fans towards the board.

As much as I understand why Blues are fighting the punishment, I think the time has now come for people such as Ren Xuandong to insist that the EFL get their collective backsides into gear and ensure that a decision is swiftly forthcoming.

As bad as a points deduction is, the uncertainty over what will happen is only adding fuel to the fire.

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