What is the Truth, what now and what next?
Although the EFL are yet to comment it seems unlikely to be coincidence that this declaration coincides with another extremely concerning set of accounts, finally released yesterday.
However, what cannot be speculated is that, once again, the supporters have been misled, and once again treated with contempt by the Club.
It transpires that not only were the accounts alarming, they also concealed an important detail: that the Club have transferred ownership of the ground to another subsidiary.
This paper exercise – for which Derby and Sheffield Wednesday are currently under EFL investigation – moved £22.7m into the accounts, resulting in a small book profit. This enabled the Club to post a loss of only just over £8m in the accounts, below the £13m allowed by EFL Profit & Sustainability rules.
Furthermore, it appears that the English Football League have been aware of this concern investigating it for over six months, a process that in any other institution would be externally validated and publically visible.
As was recently reiterated by our colleague Daniel Ivery, on 7th November at the Fans Forum meeting the Trust put three questions to the board regarding the Club’s performance against the FFP targets for 2018-19. These were regarding the Birmingham Sports Holdings published accounts showing losses of £30m against the football club; regarding the sale of Adams and Jota against current 2019/20 losses; and how they planned to ensure compliance from the 2020/21 season onward should promotion and hence financial security not materialise.
Their answer was typically vague, but contained the following reassurance, the integrity of which is now in serious question:
“As a Club we cannot go into specifics, but we are mindful of EFL regulations and we continue to operate in a manner which reflects this but at the same time also helps to fire our ambitions.”
Today, Blues Trust wish to put three further questions to the Board, which require immediate and certain resolution:
- Has the internal transfer of the ground – in order to create a paper profit to avoid infringing FFP rules for 2018-19 – been approved by the EFL?
- f no, is that what they are investigating?
- If yes, in what way are the Club being accused of infringing the EFL imposed Business Plan for that year?
We will submit these in writing via official channels and keep supporters abreast of developments.