EFL: Reply to our questions

On 24/09/2018 Blues Trust sent questions to Shaun Harvey, the chief executive of the English Football League (EFL) because the Trust along with many Birmingham City supporters were confused and concerned about reports in various newspapers of possible points deductions. You can read our message to him at this link

Below is a copy of the response we received yesterday.

Hello Margaret,

Thank you for your email in relation to Birmingham City, sent for the attention of EFL Chief Executive Shaun Harvey. I can confirm this was passed to Shaun for his consideration and he has asked me to respond on his behalf.

From the outset, we should make it clear that it is not possible for us to provide full detail in response to all your questions, based on our commitment to protect the interests of our member Club and the confidential processes involved. As stated in an EFL statement on 2 August 2018, following a review of information submitted by Birmingham City for the three year period 2015/16 to 2017/18, in regard to the League’s Profitability and Sustainability (P&S) rules, the EFL has determined the Club has recorded losses in excess of the permitted amounts and as such are the first Club to face disciplinary action as a result.

The P&S rules were introduced in March 2017, are based on three year adjusted earnings, and are aligned with the Premier League. P&S rules in the Championship are not purely a measure of overall debt but are a focus on sustainability and therefore look at reported losses within a specific period of time, over a rolling three season basis. Clubs have to mitigate these annual losses to remain within the permitted overall threshold. The rules provide that Championship Clubs in continuous membership of the Division, are permitted an aggregated £39million maximum loss, after some specific deductions, over three seasons. The submissions made by Clubs in March 2018 were based on actual audited results to June 2016 and June 2017 with forecast results to June 2018.

No date has currently been set for the Disciplinary Commission to sit and hear representations from both the EFL and Birmingham City. In accordance with EFL Regulations, the Commission will consist of a Chairperson and two suitably qualified side members, one of whom shall be selected by the EFL and the other by the Club. No details can be released as to who individuals will be. As outlined in Regulation 6.4 of the Profit and Sustainability (P&S) rules, any Disciplinary Commission ‘shall include at least one member who holds a nationally recognised qualification as accountant or auditor’. The Constitution of Disciplinary Commissions can be reviewed further in EFL Regulation 89.

The sanction is a matter for the Independent Disciplinary Commission, and a full range of sanctions are available to them as outlined in EFL Regulation 91.2. The EFL has identified and informed Championship Clubs of the sporting sanction its Board would be seeking against any Club found to be in breach of its Profitability and Sustainability rules.

We continue to work closely with Birmingham City.

Thank you for contacting the EFL.


Andrew Pomfret,
Supporter Services Department, EFL

It’s good to have received a response but we can’t see that it provides any new information either in terms of the process or the timing of any sanctions that the EFL’s Board would be seeking against our Club if it is found to have breached the Profitability and Sustainability rules.

We looked up EFL Regulation 91 and here is a list of the full range of sanctions that are available to the Independent Disciplinary Commission:

Section Text
91 Decisions
91.1 The Disciplinary Commission may at any time make a decision, and may make more than one decision at different times on different aspects of the matters to be determined
91.2 A decision may:
91.2.1 order a party to do or refrain from doing anything;
91.2.2 order a specific performance;
91.2.3 make a declaration on any matter to be determined;
91.2.4 issue a reprimand or warning as to the future conduct of a party;
91.2.5 order the payment of compensation to The League, any Club, any other club, Player or other person;
91.2.6 order a suspension of membership of The League;
91.2.7 order a deduction of points;
91.2.8 impose a financial penalty payable to The League;
91.2.9 recommend expulsion from membership of The League;
91.2.10 order a withdrawal or loss of benefit otherwise available to members of The League e.g. basic award or ladder payment;
91.2.11 impose an embargo on registration of Players;
91.2.12 order any other sanction as the Disciplinary Commission may think fit; and
91.2.13 order that interest be payable on any sums awarded under this Regulation for such period and at such rates as the Disciplinary Commission thinks fit.
91.3 These sanctions may be imposed immediately or may be deferred or suspended for such period and on such terms as the Disciplinary Commission shall decide.
91.4 At any time a Disciplinary Commission may determine (either of its own accord or as a result of representations from a person, Club or club and in any event in its sole discretion) that if the complaint is upheld, it may wish to exercise the power under Regulation 91.2.5 to award compensation. If the Disciplinary Commission so determines, it shall notify the parties to the proceedings and the potential recipient(s) of this fact. The Disciplinary Commission may then make appropriate directions as to the receipt of evidence of loss from the relevant recipient(s) as well as directions on the receipt of evidence in response from the parties to the proceedings.
91.5 The Disciplinary Commission shall have the power to abridge the time period set out in Regulation 93.3 (time limits for appeal) if there is a compelling reason why the appeal (if any) needs to be concluded expeditiously.
91.6 Any financial sanction and any order for costs shall be paid to The League within 14 days of the date on which the sanction or costs were imposed. Any compensation shall be paid in accordance with the order of the Disciplinary Commission.

Blues Trust


  1. Ray Hobrow

    I also sent an email to the EFL asking about the sanctions, and the influence media/reporters could have over the so called points deduction with the independent panel. The reply came yesterday (although I sent it approximately a month ago) and was similar to that printed in the Birmingham Mail

  2. John Pipe

    The EFL reply seems just a standard ‘polite, non-committal, factual’ response, that could refer to any transgression by any its members. It was a polite reply but sadly nothing more than that, and as you say, does not ‘provide any new information either in terms of the process or the timing of any sanctions…’

    I hope this type of response does not put you off probing as/when you can. I am sure that Blues supporters are very grateful for everything Blues Trust do on their behalf, most of which occurs behind the scenes and is never heard about.

    Keep up the good work.


  3. Larry Patterson

    It’s a polariton’s reply all they have done is redirect us all to the guidelines/roles. That are at most stacked in against the club. We ask questions but they put us on a a bus and told us to get off where they want us to. It feels to me like we our club as been punished already with the embargo that will be with us to the end of the season with a cap on wages and now they want the Disciplinary commission to justify their actions. In effect shoot first ask questions later. How is right.

  4. Michael Knowles

    Thank you Margaret.
    I feel this is helpful as it demonstrates to the EFL that supporters continue to be very concerned. After all – isn’t this about club support- people who continue to turn up when owners and players and management move on.
    Everyone now needs to back Garry and staff and the team – a return to the Premier would be priceless ( for a variety of reasons! ).

  5. Paul Tuite

    Thank you Margaret
    This news always comes when we seem doing well surely there are clubs in the same state or worse than we are but are not mentioned

  6. Arthur Rose

    This is typical business ‘blurb’ designed to pacify with out saying anything ,other than they can do what they want when they want.No harm at all in keeping ‘on their case’ as I hope you will do,in fact KRO.

  7. Tim

    I think it’s a disappointing response as your questions deserved a more personal reply.
    I think it’s a patronising and arrogant response to simply refer you to the rules but it’s typical and what we should have expected.

  8. Steve Peacock

    Brilliant from our supporters trust as always – keep up the great work- Keep Right On Steve

  9. Steve

    What is not clear is the scenario for which a specific sanction applies to which deemed offence. So if points were deducted then how would we protest that a financial penalty should have sufficed, or simply a severe warning? Not sure such a decision would be defensible in the court of Sport Arbitration with such woolly guidelines ?

  10. Steve W

    Margaret thank you keep up the good work.

    I picked this out of their reply which just about sums it up for me

    “91.2.12 order any other sanction as the Disciplinary Commission may think fit; and”

  11. Martin Hall


    Thank you for outlining the reply and the section in the rules which outlines the powers and sanctions that the Disciplinary Commission have. It is quite straight forward – they have a range of sanctions which can be applied and we do not know which one (or more) that they will take. The question that should be directed at the club is did they know that they should not have signed Pederson when the did?

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