BCFC: EFL Charges
Several members have been in touch to ask about the current and potential charges the club is facing. Below is a summary of what we know at the moment. And what we don’t.
Charges relating to the proposed takeover by Maxco
The EFL has rules which require anyone making and/or influencing decision making at a club, known as a “relevant person”, to have passed the owners and directors test administered by the EFL itself. The EFL has charged the club and some individuals with breaches of these rules regarding people that have not passed the test acting as relevant person(s) during the Maxco due diligence period.
At some future point there will be a hearing in front of an independent panel, where the EFL present the charges and the sanctions they wish to impose. The club and the individuals concerned will offer their defence, and the panel will arbitrate and decide the outcome. Either party could then appeal the panel’s decision. It is not expected that the panel will be arranged for several months.
Alternatively, the club and the individuals could agree to the charges and accept the EFL’s proposed sanctions rather than go to a hearing.
Whilst it is unclear who the individuals being charged are, Birmingham Sports Holdings Limited (BSHL), Blues’ parent company, has issued statements saying that “none of the Company and the Directors are charged by the EFL”. Press speculation suggests that some of the individuals charged were associated with Maxco, and Paul Richardson himself has announced on Instagram that “we will defend any alleged breaches of the regulations vigorously”. It is also possible that individuals outside of BSHL but involved in the ownership of BCFC could have been charged.
Further investigations by the EFL
There is a separate investigation where the EFL has asked the club/owners to explain the discrepancy between the submitted ownership information, where a Mr Wang Yaohui does not appear, and an affidavit obtained from a Singapore court case which states that Wang Yaohui is the beneficial owner of Dragon Villa, a company which holds significant shares in BHSL. The club and BCFC Board members have denied knowing the existence of Wang Yaohui publicly, both at fans meetings and to the press. Charges relating to the Wang Yaohui enquiry have not yet been made by the EFL, although the Daily Telegraph has recently reported that it believes charges are likely. If charges are brought then the same process regarding a hearing will ensue.
What we do not know
Regarding the current charges relating to Maxco, we do not know the detail of any charges and who has been charged. However, the Daily Telegraph again claims that Paul Richardson, Maxi Lopez and former Charlton chairman Matt Southall have all been charged.
We also do not know what sanctions are suggested for the charges, although there is a recent precedent in a case the EFL brought against Rochdale, which has similarities to the charges brought against Blues. In that case, persons were selling shares without EFL approval and without the knowledge of club officials, causing people to act as relevant persons that had not been approved. Rochdale had to admit wrongdoing even though the share transactions actions were out of their control. As a result the club was given a 6 point deduction, suspended for two years, and individuals were banned from being a relevant person for two years. The points deduction was suspended presumably because the EFL agreed that the wrongdoing was out of the club’s control.
Given the timescales it seems unlikely that any punishments will take effect until next season.
On the further investigation into beneficial owners we know little more, although what has crucially changed in the last year has been the affidavit in the Singapore court case which gives the EFL some concrete evidence to examine. We will have to wait to see what the EFL decides, but any charges on this subject are likely to be without precedent in English football.
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