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The perilous state of EFL club finances: A review of the Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday cases

Title images - Football with bank notes raining down
Friday, 20 August 2021 By Will Bordell

This article examines several cases involving the English Football League (EFL) and two of its clubs: Sheffield Wednesday FC and Derby County FC. The Sheffield Wednesday matters relate to the accounting practices applied to the purchase of their stadium and the non-payment of player wages. The Derby County matters relate to, among other things, the amortisation policy applied to their transfer fees and the non-payment of player wages.

The decisions are reviewed in light of the EFL’s financial fair play rules, before reflecting on public criticisms about the process, including the wide-ranging impact of financial allegations, investigations and sanctions on clubs; the EFL’s position within the process; and the time taken to complete the hearings.  Specifically, this article looks at:

  • Derby and Sheffield Wednesday’s financial woes
  • The EFL’s profitability and sustainability rules
  • Sheffield Wednesday’s stadium purchase
  • Derby’s transfer fee amortisation policy
  • Is it time for an independent football regulator? 

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Written by

Will Bordell

Will Bordell

Will accepts instructions in all of Blackstone Chambers' main areas of work. During Will's pupillage, he was supervised by Diya Sen Gupta QC, Fraser Campbell, Hanif Mussa and Andrew Scott. He gained experience of matters in the Court of Appeal, High Court, Employment Tribunal and the London Court of International Arbitration, as well as assisting in substantial amounts of advisory work.

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