EFL: Cracks Appearing

News broke on Monday night that Middlesbrough Chairman Steve Gibson is demanding an investigation into the financial conduct of three clubs in the Championship. Gibson is unhappy at the way Derby County, Sheffield Wednesday and our chums from across the expressway have skirted the P&S rules.


You can read John Percy’s full article at this link.

The upshot of these demands is that Gibson has demanded a meeting of all 24 clubs on Wednesday April 24.

Boro balanced their own books last summer with the sale of Patrick Bamford to Leeds United, Ben Gibson to Burnley and Adama Traore to Wolverhampton Wanderers for a combined fee of around £43million.

Gibson is angry having seen details of Derby’s own moves to balance their books by selling Pride Park to owner Mel Morris, in the face of EFL rules about market value for deals with related parties.

I’m not surprised he’s angry.

This season has seen a growing schism between clubs with arguments over the new TV deal upsetting many.

The punishment laid at the door of Birmingham City will only serve to worry those clubs who know that they are close to the line.

As much as I think Blues should have played the same game last summer, I think Gibson is right.

The Derby situation where they have sold the stadium to their owner is a bad one.

We’ve all seen the impact that can have on a club with the ongoing saga at Coventry City.

Likewise, that kind of deal can only be done once. It’s not something that encourages sustainability – which is surely the point of the rules.

I will say here and now that I do not like the thought of St Andrew’s being sold to either Paul Suen / Trillion Trophy Asia – or for that matter another third party company with connections to Wang Yaohui (Mr King).

The EFL don’t help things either, telling fans of Bolton Wanderers (another club with severe issues) that they’re not a governing body and that they can’t help.

With various other clubs having to face winding up petitions recently it’s no surprise that the more outspoken club chairmen like Andy Holt at Accrington Stanley are calling for changes to the way the EFL is run.

Holt has repeatedly stated his desire that the EFL be replaced by an independent regulator whose job is to govern the game rather than to be a member’s association of clubs.

Whatever happens, the need for change in the way the game works is becoming more apparent.

With ever more money being spent on players to make the holy grail of the Premier League, the P&S rules are likely to become increasingly bent.

As much as I believe that Blues have to accept the decision placed upon them, I think it’s also time for other clubs to understand that they cannot continue in the manner they are either.

It’s time for the EFL to grow a pair and start telling clubs that profit and sustainability mean just that.

The alternative is a league governed by how good the accountants are rather than the teams.

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