Our message to the EFL

Blues Trust has sent the following message to Shaun Harvey, the chief executive of the English Football League (EFL).

Dear Mr Harvey

Birmingham City supporters are confused and concerned about reports of possible points deductions in various newspapers.  On September 7, the Telegraph reported that the club was facing a possible 12-point deduction and on September 20, the Times reported that the club was facing a 15-point deduction this season.  On September 22, the Birmingham Mail reported your statement, which said.

“The EFL today presented to Championship Clubs the sporting sanction its Board would be seeking against any Club found to be in breach of its Profitability and Sustainability rules.”

“This included a points deduction with reductions available dependent on the level of the breach. Aggravating factors will also be taken into consideration, resulting in potential further punishment.”

“Any final sanction will remain a matter for an Independent Disciplinary Commission to determine, who have a full range of penalties available to them.”

“Clubs found to be in breach and referred to a Commission will be given the opportunity to put forward their case in mitigation.”

Please will you answer the following questions:

  1. Your statement, quoted above, gives the impression that the sanction presented was a new tougher one and that you might apply it retrospectively.  If the Disciplinary Commission decides to sanction Birmingham City FC, will it have the option to apply this new sanction this season?
  2. Who will be on the Disciplinary Commission?
  3. When do you expect the Disciplinary Commission to make a decision on a sanction for Birmingham City?
  4. What are the full range of penalties available to the Commission? Can some be deferred to a later season?

Many Birmingham City supporters feel that their club will probably receive a more severe punishment than other clubs that have broken the rules.  We think that the EFL could help fans to understand its actions by providing a short summary of its Profitability and Sustainability rules and also listing on its website which clubs it is consulting with about a possible breach of the rules, which clubs have breached the rules, and sanctions awarded against clubs.  It would be better for such matters to be made public by the EFL than appear as an exclusive in a newspaper.

Blues Trust

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    The efl don’t follow their own rules
    Just look at their fit and proper owner’s rules and the shambles of our last owners

  2. Peter bates

    I think the efl should be trying to find out who is leaking this information about individual clubs to the papers and show all efl clubs respect by denying these rumours or are they complicit with these reporters

    • Neil Jones

      They don’t need to as its them leaking it, the information is too specific for it not to be in house.

  3. Brian

    Totally agree with Nigel, our ‘fit and proper’ owners should be sanctioned with a fine not the team and its supporters.

  4. andy

    When we signed Pedersen we were under a transfer embargo apparently and the EFL would not allow us to register the player.Why then did the EFL then allow us to register the player and also allow us a specified number of loan signings and lifted the transfer embargo,If the plan all along was to hit the club with sanctions such as point deductions.Also in generalthese rules are supposed to be about preventing clubs getting into debt,but the EFL has no problem with fining clubs millions of pounds,doesnt that also put the club in debt? whilst the EFL gets richer.

  5. Harborne Bluenose

    The EFL should not be allowed to impose sanctions midway through a season. Other countries like Italy and Spain ensure points deductions are in place at start of season. Owners should also when they buy clubs have to make a deposit of say 25 million in an account that can be used to pay fines by the EFL for any breaches. EFL should also be forcing clubs to not charge away fans more than £25. Apart from all the above they are alright… KRO

  6. Peter bates

    Agree andy the faceless hypocrites at the efl telling clubs not to do this or that then putting clubs in a position where they have to hand over millions to the efl and totally ignore the fact themoney they take off the clubs could be used to sustain that club so there remit his we will run your club with your clubs money and your club accepts everything we say oh and by the way we are taking points off you as well what a shambles the efl are time the clubs stood up to these faceless people who run football and then tell supporters who buy season tickets and every week they are doing it us laughable

  7. Tony Adamson

    I have written to the EFL on three occasions asking similar questions to yours and the Evening Mail though I tried to make the comments general. I received one response referring me to the EFL rules and stating that all clubs signed up to the latest agreement. Two key questions:
    1) Bolton faced a strike in the off season due to non-payment of wages. Two weeks ago they faced a winding up order as have other clubs this season. Yet as we know they have spent money. Affordability?
    2) If according to the EFL clubs are embargoed and financially penalised because they cannot according to the EFL afford to spend anymore money how do they expect fines up to £46 million (QPR) to be paid? I also asked them what happened to the fines?
    NO ANSWER to either question and these people run the Football League.

  8. tony jones

    why oh why do they put the fans through this it is heart breaking luckily we have the best supporters around after all the trouble we have been through, how did they let carson take over is beyond me , we should know as fans what is going to happen and when and why did they allow us to sign pederson and have other loan deals. surely there are other clubs in a far worse condition than us who are signing players it seems farcical to me and the fans again SUFFER .

  9. C farmer

    Whatever the punishment it should be a bench mark not an example,rules should be set before the season they cannot make rules fit the crime .i hope the club seriously make sure we are not victims of a vendetta,mob rule etc ,I hope we will be looking at future punishment handed to other clubs i.e. Villa when there case is heard

  10. phil

    These faceless idiots should punnish the owners etc not the fans and thee. players. Why do they let new owners buy clubs who know nothing about football, set up, or rules and regulations. Enough is enough whats the point of playing for the rest of the season knowing we could and probably will get relegated if we get a big points reduction. Lets just shut up shop now. It is a disgrace.

  11. Martin Harrison

    How is pushing a club into almost certain relegation to League 1 resulting in a massive drop in revenue, by the double whammy of making them uncompetitive on the field and then adding a significant points deduction resulting in a massive drop in revenue square with “Sustainability” Meanwhile a club like Bolton who are skint and cannot meet it financial obligations can still sign players and face no punishment or embargo. Clarity needed.

  12. Somerset Blue

    If directors pass the EFL’s rules on being fit and proper persons to be in charge of a football club and these same people then go on to fail the profit and sustainability rules, surely the EFL’s own systems are failing.

    It seems to me if you don’t have enough money you can’t own a football club and if you have too much you aren’t allowed to spend it! Either way the owners end up paying a fine to the EFL.

    A cynical person might thing that the EFL engineer these situations knowing that they will end up the only winners!

  13. Larry Patterson

    I have read the EFL “RULES” they are not easy to understand but what sticks out is this one: No club will be deducted points once the season has started. The EFL with hold the right to emendations to the rules if a club is in Edmonton and or are unable to meet it’s financial obligations (pay staff wage and or operation costs leading to administration and or receivership.

    So in my view this is the rule Birmingham need to quote to the EFL as the club is not in administration or receivership
    And the therefore there is no case for the EFL to make emendations to the rule.

  14. Robert wiley

    I have emailed the Efl on four occasions and have had the same reply as mentioned in comments above.They are breaking their own rules by allowing confidential information to be leaked to the press.If we were embargo,d at the end of last season, why did they remain silent when we signed Peterson only weeks later mentioning it and decided to allow the registration,They should have had the guts to stick to their own rules, and also be punished for allowing bad owners own a club.They are so incompetent it beggars belief

  15. Hugsy

    I don’t like the way our club is being threatened by the EFL. I agree with the comment earlier about the lack of intervention of the EFL when this Club was owned and controlled by individuals that were clearly untrustworthy and unsuitable. We were left in a state of limbo for a while and the problems we have had since then have been larger than the natural income of the Club can easily cope with.
    The EFL lay down their rules and the Clubs have to sign acceptance, or cease to be, in effect. The way those rules are applied is the important bit. Surely the EFL is required to manage the affairs of Clubs so that Clubs can progress, develop, and Survive! for heavens sake.
    Surely, somewhere, there is a Blues fan that is also a Lawyer and is prepared to help this great Club sift through the morass laid down by the EFL.
    The EFL itself needs help to realise and understand just how Championship Clubs operate: if they are not careful the Clubs will get poorer, always live balanced on the wire. The gap between the Championship and the Prem will get wider than it is already. That gap is financial. The talent and capability within the Championship is terrific, and, but for finance, is a force to be reckoned with by the Prem. Do we really want to end up with the Prem and 500 other clubs?
    The EFL need to stop: and then start again.

  16. Anon

    Here’s the thing.

    To people posting about Bolton- what Bolton had was liquidity, cash flow- in short typical financial issues- however they are FFP compliant I think (doubtless helped by their lengthy transfer embargo, which restricted wages, fees etc). They had a solvency issue essentially.

    What Birmingham aka you lot have isn’t a cash flow, liquidity issue- your owners seem rich- but an FFP issue. Weird though it sounds, you’re financially solvent but in FFP strife (bit like Villa arguably) whereas Bolton are FFP fine but financially shaky.

  17. Anthony

    This organisation could potentialy lead to the death of birmingham city football club. Instead of treating our club with such contempt, why don’t they at least operate a final warning system.

    I honestly think there is a personal bias against our club. Other clubs have broken more rules, with little punishment. Yet as soon as our club break a rule, we are threatened. It is the fans who suffer in this situation, as this could affect the club for many years.

  18. Somerset Blue

    I think that we are all slightly missing the point, us Blues fans are feeling victimised because we will be the first club punished under P&S rules and because the EFL have been silent and ambiguous on the facts (The EFL seem to be drip feeding snippets and possible punishments to the press to see how the ground lies). I’m sure that when there appears to be a consensus on the punishment in the press, hey presto that’s the punishment we’ll get and no one will be surprised and the EFL end up with another bag of money and they won’t look like the bad guys.

    My concern is that in 5-10 years’ time at this rate, no owners of a club will ever be able to get their team into the Premier League by gambling on buying better players as every team has historically done.
    Only the clubs currently in the Prem will have the chance to get back in because of the absurd parachute payments which make the whole league system a joke and unfair.
    In about 10 years’ time the UK’s top 20ish clubs will have a monopoly and no other club will break into it because the financial fair play rules are restricting smaller clubs more than the parachute payments reward the failing larger ones.

    • C farmer

      You have summed it up perfectly I emailed the EFL about the same thing they give money to nine clubs in parachute payments but then penalise others who try and compete they have created a unfair league system,all I got back was a standard reply each club is judged on its merits,I wrote back saying show us the rule book show us the page that says this is the rule that’s been broken and this is the punishment no answer came back they make it up as they go.
      The days of jack walker buying a club and making them champions have now been destroyed forever

  19. Derek Johnson

    This letter needed sending and as a supporter I am extremely appreciative of the Trust for doing so. As an entity that like all Blues’ Fans cherishes the institution of BCFC, the Trust was right to highlight the tawdry aspect of our football club’s affairs being bandied around as fodder for newspaper hacks. Clearly, governance has been a problem for TTA and I am sure they have reflected deeply on the impact their laxity has created. Nevertheless, it is us the supporters of this club and those whose livelihoods depend upon it who should be at the forefront of the EFL’s considerations. Clarity is urgently required and any attempt to punish the club retrospectively with more draconian punishment than that meted out to others will certainly be resisted by the supporter base. Well done again to the Trust for its timely intervention.

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