The full EFL statement can be viewed here.
Who is supposed to be on the panel?
Under Section 8 of the EFL rules, the commission is to consist of three members, all to be independent of the EFL and the club.
The EFL and Blues each select a side member, while they will agree on a mutually acceptable chairperson.
All of the members must be either a qualified solicitor or barrister; or a member or fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators with at least five years worth of post-qualification experience.
Proceedings are to be held in accordance with the Arbitration Act with some minor adjustments.
My understanding from past correspondence with the EFL is that they have no intention of making the names of the disciplinary panel or the precise date of the hearing public.
What does “conflicted” mean?
At a base level, conflicted means that one representative has decided that they cannot make an impartial decision.
While I’ve seen some humorous suggestions about a person suddenly proclaiming their love for a certain football team which plays across the expressway from us, I personally do not believe it is anything like that.
The fact that the conflict has only come to light late on Tuesday makes me think one of two things has happened. Either
a) the representative has decided that something that previously though not to harm their impartiality could affect it and has withdrawn rather than cause a potential issue
b) a specific event has happened that a representative is involved in which is directly impacted by the results of the commission. A hypothetical example of this would be the representative is now involved in the takeover at Bolton Wanderers whose league position has an outside chance of being affected by the results of the commission.
Again, we do not know which representative has decided to back away.
The strong language used in the statement does make me wonder if it the representative for Blues but I have absolutely no way of knowing that one way or another.
Will this get sorted out this season?
One thing that strikes me about the statement is the positive intent the EFL are giving that this matter is “fully resolved” this season.
Now this might be semantics but to me that says that not only do the EFL want the commission to sit and complete its findings this season, but that any punishment will also be enforced this season.
From a personal point of view, I think this is essential for Blues.
Right now the threat of the points deduction is not the worst thing hanging over the head of the club.
The fact that Blues cannot seemingly offer any contracts to existing players or bring in any new players massively hampers the future planning of the club.
Indeed, I think it’s also in the best interests of the EFL to get this wrapped up now as there could be a legal argument that the extent of the delays to this hearing have caused Blues to suffer restraint of trade beyond that of any punishment laid upon them by the League.
Another factor is that on March 31 all clubs are required to submit their results for this year’s P&S calculations.
The EFL surely do not want this to be ongoing while it sorts through the next set of results.