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[Sticky] Will clubs incur points deductions for breaking the rules

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werdermouth
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With a number of Championship clubs now facing points deductions for breaking the rules, will the EFL ensure that they are given the penalty of a points deduction so that they fail to gain the advantage that they sought?

Wigan are in theory heading for a 12-point deduction after the last game - though the administrators have appealed the decision on behalf of the club, which will be ruled on by an independent body.

Other clubs such as Derby and Sheffield Wednesday are also facing sanction for financial sleight of hand in order to comply with FFP rules by essentially selling assets to themselves and banking the profit.

With the post-Covid financial landscape proving a drag on turnover, it is perhaps not the last time clubs will look at dodgy accounting tricks to allow owners with deep pockets to spend more than they should - or indeed seek to write off debts to be also able to essentially spend more on players and wages.

The implications are huge for those who will either have points deducted or others who have played by the rules but face losing out to clubs who cheated to finish above them.

Please feel free to use this thread to add your thoughts on these matters that the EFL must decide upon...


Boroexile
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Speaking of the 12 point deduction for Wigan, I don’t think the EFL has any option but to stick with it.  Their statements so far about it have been very, very clear as follows:-

“The League fundamentally disagrees with the comments attributed earlier today to Mr Au Yeung Wai Kay where he stated that ‘the Covid-19 pandemic has undermined the ability to fund the club'.

While Covid-19 has undoubtedly presented significant financial challenges to the professional game, evidence of the required source and sufficiency of funding to be invested in or otherwise made available to the club was provided as part of the recent change of control process.

The Covid crisis is more illustrative of the wider financial challenges facing EFL clubs, who, without a full and comprehensive reset of football’s finances, including how monies are distributed throughout the game, will continue to struggle to meet the demands of an outdated and unsustainable model.

In respect of the challenges at Wigan Athletic, there is clearly a number of important unanswered questions that require urgent attention and the EFL welcomes the move by administrators to launch an investigation.

The EFL will undertake a similar exercise and, should any breaches of football regulations or company law be discovered, action will be taken either by the League or the body with the relevant jurisdiction to do so”.

The EFL has also reiterated that a 12-point penalty is a default punishment following insolvency.  It adds: "The regulation seeks to ensure a club cannot gain any advantage over other clubs by not paying its creditors in full and on time.

The EFL acknowledges it is a difficult time for any club placed into Administration but is mindful that its regulations are to be applied consistently and equally to all member clubs irrespective of the circumstances. In the current case of Wigan Athletic, due to the club being placed into administration after the fourth Thursday in March, the sporting sanction will take affect once the final League positions are known."

All that seems to me to be a categorical statement that Wigan will be docked 12 points.  In my view it would be a very brave decision by the EFL to backtrack and impose a smaller points deduction.  Brave not only because it would destroy any remaining credibility they have but also because I think they would find themselves in court pretty quickly as I can’t see Steve Gibson (or the Chairman of any other club that might be affected) rolling over and just accepting it.  There is too much at stake.


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Pedro de Espana
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@boroexile    As much as I feel sad about Wigan’s position, I hope you are correct if that keeps us in the Championship. Not the best way to retain a place, but it is what it is, seems the most appropriate cliche.

As for MFC, a disaster in how not to do things. Especially at the top end of the club.


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jarkko
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I really cannot see why the 15 points would not stand to be reduced from Wigan's total.

Isn't it a clear rule on that? 

Up the Boro! 


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Ken Smith
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Posted by: @jarkko

I really cannot see why the 15 points would not stand to be reduced from Wigan's total.

Isn't it a clear rule on that? 

Up the Boro! 

You’re quite right, Jarkko. The 12 point penalty is sacrosanct for clubs going into administration. It cannot be reduced and as the EFL have stated categorically that it WILL be enforced at the END of the season, Boro will NOT be relegated. Nevertheless I’d much prefer that Wigan beat Fulham on Wednesday as the players have been terrific since the 12 point deduction especially at home. That has become harder for them following the weekend’s results as Fulham still have a remote chance of automatic promotion as both Brentford particularly should beat Barnsley though West Brom on current form might slip up at home to QPR. 

However I would feel uncomfortable as a fan of Birmingham, Charlton or Luton to be saved from relegation by off the field misdemeanours; it’s not the fault of the players nor fans of Wigan to find themselves in this position.


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Redcar Red
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I was reading the below article from the Barnsley Chairman about the incompetence of the EFL in dealing with "cheating" clubs. Its easy to say that due to the current situation of his club he would say that but it is very clear that the authorities of the game we love are unfit for purpose. How on earth can we get to this stage of the season and the Wigan threat is still unclear along with Wednesday and Derby.

https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/barnsley-chairman-threatens-efl-slams-18624517


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jarkko
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So true about the FA. And the punisment of 15 points is still very mild. As the article mentioned in several countries a club would be relagated a couple of tiers.

My club in Finland, was relagated three tiers when they went bust. They had a Chinese owner for a few months.

I will suport Steve Gibson as an owner. 

Up the Boro! 

This post was modified 11 months ago 3 times by jarkko

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Ken Smith
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Posted by: @redcarred

I was reading the below article from the Barnsley Chairman about the incompetence of the EFL in dealing with "cheating" clubs. Its easy to say that due to the current situation of his club he would say that but it is very clear that the authorities of the game we love are unfit for purpose. How on earth can we get to this stage of the season and the Wigan threat is still unclear along with Wednesday and Derby.

https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/barnsley-chairman-threatens-efl-slams-18624517

Of course the chairman of Barnsley has a point as Steve Gibson has suggested. How long can these uncertainties prevail? However shortly next season’s fixtures will have to be announced and I can’t imagine that any sanctions against Derby, Birmingham and Sheffield Wednesday will be made until next season when it’s possible that those clubs could all be starting with a minus number of points. We can’t possibly have the same situation as with Bury this season where their fixtures for next season were expunged. As yet I’m not aware if any of those clubs have actually been charged yet.

The situation with Wigan is different. They have already been deducted 12 points, whether that occurs this season dependent on their final League position. The fact that they have appealed means that the final decision is now out of the hands of the EFL but will be decided by an independent panel who have to give their decision within 21 days of the appeal. So now do we have to wait until maybe a couple of weeks before next season’s fixtures are announced, or will they be released before Wigan’s appeal has been decided with an either/or situation.

We don’t know yet the situation in League 2 or the National League where an elongated knock out system is currently taking place to ascertain who will be promoted along with Barrow. Surely all these playoffs should have started at the same time as the resumption of the Championship. The whole system seems a mess. Voiding some Divisions but still having playoffs down to the National Leagues, but voiding Stages below that with no promotions and relegations when at least two clubs headed their respective Leagues and effectively promoted as they couldn’t be overtaken surely isn’t fair. 


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Redcar Red
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With the EFL dithering over their deliberations about Derby and Sheffield Wednesday let alone Wigan we could have a scenario where Owls fans are gloating over sending us down only to find out days or weeks later that they have been deducted points and are actually going down whilst we stay up.

How on earth does a body charged with running the game get itself into such a dire situation? Its possible that Derby could join them meaning that two "relegated" teams suddenly get a reprieve. How are those two Clubs supposed to organise and manage their resources for the forthcoming season let alone those who go down on Wednesday night?

Say Boro for example are relegated and as a consequence pay off office, admin and match day staff. Players who were going to be offered new contracts are then let go and players who would have been retained, say Britt as an example are sold off on the cheap because of the wage/affordability constraints. So a club is decimated from top to bottom both on and off the field and then they get an email from the EFL to say, "false alarm Derby are down and you are staying up". 

I get the feeling that Wigan was a clear and easy case (soft touch even) to make an example of but Derby and Wednesday are a lot more uncomfortable for the suits. So lets wait wait until the season is actually over then dock them the maximum amount of points without actually relegating them (9 points, 10 points, 12 points or even more to look really tough but just so long as they stay in the Championship) and everything is sorted but absolutely nothing is upset. Its a bit like betting on a race that was finished an hour ago with the results already up on the bookies screen. 

I hope there is a collective court case to support Barnsley from other Championship Chairmen to take the EFL to task and sort out their incompetence. That then opens another can of worms, what if the courts decide that the relegated clubs were in fact treated unfairly and put at a disadvantage because of other clubs abusing spending limits and the EFL doing nothing and thats before anyone looks into EFL approving the fit and proper persons decision over Wigan's new owners. 

Is now the time for Championship clubs to approach the FA for a Premier League 2 breakaway from the EFL?


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grovehillwallah
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I’ve just spent quite a bit of time surfing the net trying to get a handle on this point deduction situation for Sheffield Wednesday and Derby County. To be honest I’m still none the wiser.

 

That the season will end on Wednesday evening and still no definitive action has been taken by the EFL is as RR so rightly states a complete travesty. Because DC and SW are higher profile clubs than Wigan Athletic and have not gone into administration it gives the EFL the get out option of a large fine and/or transfer embargo.

It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s the course of action they take.


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Malcolm
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Still confused! this from the EFL

The EFL have confirmed that Wigan Athletic will be docked 12 points after their final fixture against Fulham on Wednesday.

It means even with a win, the Latics can only finish on 49 points - one point below Boro.

The EFL say, however, that the deduction is still subject to an appeal.

The League have tonight released a lengthy statement on the back of mixed reports in the national press.

The statement says: "The League continues to receive questions on a regular basis in respect of updates to ongoing proceedings involving the EFL and its member Clubs.

"We recognise the desire amongst stakeholders, not least from our own members, but also their respective supporters and representatives of the media, for clarity on the current position.

 

"At the point a Club is charged with misconduct, it is referred to an  Independent Disciplinary Commission  and from that point onwards, the format and timing of the proceedings are controlled by that of the Independent Commission. Our stated position and the policy agreed with our Clubs is that we do not pass any comment on these individual matters, other than to confirm the charges at the outset and the subsequent outcomes.

The EFL have confirmed that Wigan Athletic will be docked 12 points after their final fixture against Fulham on Wednesday.

It means even with a win, the Latics can only finish on 49 points - one point below Boro.

The EFL say, however, that the deduction is still subject to an appeal.

The League have tonight released a lengthy statement on the back of mixed reports in the national press.

The statement says: "The League continues to receive questions on a regular basis in respect of updates to ongoing proceedings involving the EFL and its member Clubs.

"We recognise the desire amongst stakeholders, not least from our own members, but also their respective supporters and representatives of the media, for clarity on the current position.

 

"At the point a Club is charged with misconduct, it is referred to an  Independent Disciplinary Commission  and from that point onwards, the format and timing of the proceedings are controlled by that of the Independent Commission. Our stated position and the policy agreed with our Clubs is that we do not pass any comment on these individual matters, other than to confirm the charges at the outset and the subsequent outcomes.


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Pedro de Espana
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Just following from Malcolm. Mail on Line states.

The EFL have confirmed that the bottom three clubs in the Championship on Wednesday evening will be relegated subject to other on-going disciplinary proceedings, but there is little prospect they will be completed by the mid-August deadline.

Looks like EFL could be back-tracking and Boro could end up in League 1 after all.

 


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Pedro de Espana
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So, Wigan will be docked 12 points after the games finish on Wednesday night. However the reduction is subject to appeal. So, does that mean the 12 deduction will be suspended until after the appeal and the concluding decision sometime in August. 

i would say very likely. Because are the EFL going to apply the 12 point deduction, relegate Wigan possibly, only to the remove the 12 point deduction if Wigan win their appeal.

Easy answer is for the EFL to apply any points deductions next season.

This post was modified 11 months ago by Pedro de Espana

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Redcar Red
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Posted by: @pedro

Just following from Malcolm. Mail on Line states.

The EFL have confirmed that the bottom three clubs in the Championship on Wednesday evening will be relegated subject to other on-going disciplinary proceedings, but there is little prospect they will be completed by the mid-August deadline.

Looks like EFL could be back-tracking and Boro could end up in League 1 after all.

 

The Mail article was apparently the reason for the later EFL statement that Malcolm referred to above. 

The long winded statement from the EFL explains how that once the season is ended the Wigan points deduction will kick in so everything is totally transparent. Well until they mention:

"At the point a Club is charged with misconduct, it is referred to an Independent Disciplinary Commission  and from that point onwards, the format and timing of the proceedings are controlled by that of the Independent Commission". 

So apparently its all very clear now but the timing is controlled by the Independent Commission. It sounds a bit like the go to work but don't go to work, work from home but if you go to work don't use public transport but if you do use public transport wear a mask if you want but you don't have to but there again we thought about it again and now you should wear a mask but just don't drive to Barnard Castle with it worn over your eyes.


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Malcolm
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Thanks RR. This scenario is doing my head in! So come on NW get the draw we need and sod the rest.

This post was modified 11 months ago by Malcolm

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Clive Hurren
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Sorry Werder, I’m going to break the rules again, but only because I want to comment here on what has gone before on this thread. 

I sometimes tend to go away from the blog for a couple of days, which means I have a lot to catch up on when I come back to it. So I’m sorry, mates, if I’m resurrecting an old point here. I just want to say to Exmil and OFB that I enjoy both your contributions (as I do everybody’s, whether I agree with them or not), so I hope you will both keep on posting. And Ian, if you’re lurking out there in the ether, we miss you! Please come back! 

I absolutely agree with RR and others that the way the EFL has handled the cases of Wigan, Derby and Wednesday is nothing short of scandalous. It beggars belief that we come to the end of the season and DC and SW still do not know their fate after all this time. I do suspect, as one of you said above, that the EFL will fudge the outcomes to protect these two clubs’ positions, though that will inevitably smell strongly of fish and is likely to be the subject of legal action by Barnsley at least. What a total shambles! 

I suppose in Wigan’s case the situation is a bit clearer because the EFL has said they will apply the sanction - but then they still have to hear and judge the appeal. Even so, I think the EFL themselves should bear a heavy responsibility for permitting highly dubious owners to take over the club in the first place. Where was the due diligence? 

Finally, I loved watching Adama terrorise Crystal Palace tonight. He truly is unplayable at times. Does anyone know if Boro were wise enough to insert a sell-on clause in the deal with Wolves? We could stand to gain a nice little earner once he moves to Man City, Liverpool or Barcelona. Of course, I realise that using the words ‘Boro’ and ‘wise’ in the same sentence might be a touch unrealistic. 


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Redcar Red
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@clive-hurren there was no sell on clause with Adama, we had a trigger point which was over double what we paid for him and once met he and his agent were free to talk to whosoever they wanted.

Whilst it has caused a lot of angst on here in the past to put it in perspective we probably have/had similar trigger points in say Gestede's or Britt's contracts and others but nobody was prepared to offer one and a half times or double what we paid for them. I believe there is a possible addition to Bamford's fee for achieving Promotion but I also think that we have already borrowed against it.


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Ken Smith
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If one thinks what a mess the EFL have concocted over the lack of points deductions, what above Super League who now find themselves with only 11 clubs since Toronto have resigned for this season only?


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Redcar Red
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For me the issue is one of here and now. Wigan's fans have been cheated by the farcical takeover but their club in theory didn't deliberately or obviously seek to circumnavigate rules to gain an advantage.

In the case of Derby and Wednesday they deliberately massaged the rules to gain an advantage to the point of one of them even having a Coach come supposed part time player sponsored. I get that "rules are rules" and why Wigan are being punished but the punishment has to fit the crime and be in the here and now. It is this season that those two clubs have gained an unfair advantage, why should Barnsley or even Hull (despite them being a car crash) and their fans suffer because they played to the rules?

Punishing Derby or Wednesday next season doesn't reward those Clubs that have been honest and moral in their endeavours (assuming that those two clubs did cheat which until proven they are still innocent). I believe Rotherham when they went down were the only Championship club to make a profit in that season.

Something just doesn't sit right in the world of football and don't start me on Aston Villa. It will be interesting to see the non action that the EFL will contrive when they land back in the Championship.

This post was modified 11 months ago by Redcar Red

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werdermouth
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I totally agree with that point about a punishment should be in the same season as the advantage was achieved - to give both Derby and Wednesday points deductions next season does mean other clubs have not been on a level playing field - though if the points deduction is next season then both clubs could likely struggle to be promoted.

Also while I feel for the Wigan fans at this nonsense of going into administration, I'm sure the EFL were given assurances by the 'new owners' that they had the funds to finance the club for at least 12 months. OK, the EFL may have been duped but in which case Wigan should be punished otherwise any future owner could try and pull the same trick.


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Redcar Red
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Posted by: @werdermouth

OK, the EFL may have been duped but in which case Wigan should be punished otherwise any future owner could try and pull the same trick.

There was talk of a supposed bet being placed on Wigan being relegated just before the administration was announced. If true it would appear that Wigan have been the victims of a scam maybe even involving a crime syndicate. The efforts of both the Players and Manger seems to be almost Herculean and if their efforts thwart the alleged bet by keeping the club in the Championship in spite of the deduction then everyone wins apart from the dodgy owners.


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werdermouth
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The question is  whether a bet was placed based on inside information that someone knew the plan of Wigan's new owners was to place the club into administration after acquiring it - or was it that the club were placed into administration to win a bet. I don't know how big the alleged bet was supposed to be and what are the potential winnings but the new owners claim they've already spent close £40m on the deal so it definitely needs some kind of investigation.


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grovehillwallah
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As clear as mud....

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/53484188


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Clive Hurren
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@redcarred

Thanks for your reply to my query about Adama. Shame really. 


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Boroexile
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I’ve just discovered an article on the BBC Sport website that says the EFL issued a statement yesterday on the situation with Wigan and their points deduction.  Their report read as follows:-

”The one club the EFL did mention in Monday's statement was the Latics. It has now been confirmed - in line with regulations - Wigan will incur a 12-point deduction at the end of the season for entering administration. The sanction only comes into force after the campaign is over because, had Wigan finished in the bottom three anyway, it would be carried over to 2020-21.

This would move Wigan from 13th to 22nd, above Barnsley on goal difference. It would mean Luton are out of the bottom three and Birmingham and Middlesbrough are safe.

However, as the EFL made clear, this sanction is "subject to appeal", which is due to take place on 31 July, and Wigan have appointed leading barrister, David Phillips QC.

The Latics were placed in administration on 1 July, just weeks after the club changed Hong Kong-based owners. The argument is no-one - neither at Wigan nor the EFL - could have known what Au Yeung Wai Kay was going to do and therefore the punishment should be withdrawn.

If Wigan win their final game against Fulham and avoid finishing in the bottom three, even with a 12-point deduction, they could withdraw their appeal. However, if they remain in the relegation zone, the appeal will continue - and if they are successful, it would relegate whoever finishes fourth from bottom”.

A few thoughts on this have occurred to me.  

First, it is ludicrous to be going into the last game of the season not knowing whether Wigan’s appeal has been allowed. The EFL should be ashamed of its performance in failing to have it resolved before now.  

Second, the argument that no-one could have known what Au Young Wai Kay was going to do is equally ludicrous and, it seems to me, totally irrelevant.  He put the club into administration to save cash flow thereby gaining an advantage over other clubs who did not take the same approach.  Therefore under EFL rules 12 points must be deducted.

Third, with the hearing on Wigan’s appeal scheduled for July 31st, good luck to the EFL in attempting to retrospectively relegate the club finishing fourth over a week after the end of the season.  That club will have already started preparations for next season in the Championship and there is no way it will just roll over and accept retrospective relegation.  It will for sure take the EFL to court and put up a very strong legal defence of its position.

All this nonsense was easily avoidable by hearing the appeal quickly and ensuring the position was crystal clear and the matter closed well before the end of the season.  Typical EFL shambles.


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Martin Bellamy
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I suspect that if Wigan beat Fulham tomorrow and are safe, then they’ll withdraw their appeal and that particular issue will disappear for the EFL. 

I think the most important thing for the Latics is finding a new owner to get them out of administration. I’m hopeful that it will be Ian Lenagan, current owner of Wigan Warriors and former chairman of the Football League. He owned Oxford Utd at one time so has some history in this area. 


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Ken Smith
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Strange that the final Championship matches should finish midweek, especially with evening kick off times. Unlikely I know, but what if there should be a floodlight failure in one of the relegation matches resulting in a match being abandoned and having to be replayed at the weekend with all other results known. This could give an unfair advantage to the team whose match had to be replayed. Just saying like!


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Powmill-Naemore
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Posted by: @ken

Strange that the final Championship matches should finish midweek, especially with evening kick off times. Unlikely I know, but what if there should be a floodlight failure in one of the relegation matches resulting in a match being abandoned and having to be replayed at the weekend with all other results known. This could give an unfair advantage to the team whose match had to be replayed. Just saying like!

A very good point Ken, and one I suspect none of the authorities have considered. Should they happen, it will almost certainly be another one for the courts ...


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grovehillwallah
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Still no word from the EFL on the possible points deductions for Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday. What a ridiculous state of affairs. 

Wednesday are most at risk, as a 9 point deduction will see them relegated thereby reprieving Charlton.


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jarkko
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Sheffield Wednesday deducted 12 points for 2020-21 season.

Why next season and not this? I am sure Charlton FC would like to know.

Up the Boro! 

 


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