The EFL has announced a comprehensive review of the regulations and procedures concerning the financial sustainability of EFL clubs. The review, an extension of the EFL’s existing governance review, will consider the lessons to be learned from the recent financial difficulties of Bury FC, which led to the withdrawal of its membership of the EFL, and will seek to identify changes that help to ensure that similar problems do not occur in the future.
The review, carried out in full consultation with clubs, will be conducted independently and led by Jonathan Taylor QC, an expert on commercial and regulatory issues in sport, who is leading the existing review of the EFL’s governance systems and procedures. Mr Taylor is co-head of the Sports Group at law firm Bird and Bird and has extensive experience in advising national and international sporting bodies. The review will result in a set of recommendations being made to the EFL Board and member clubs.
The financial sustainability review will take place in two phases. Phase One will examine the background to Bury FC’s insolvency including the ownership of the club, management decisions and funding arrangements. It will also consider the role of the EFL’s regulations, including the application of the Owners’ and Directors’ Test, procedures in respect of financial viability and the approach to insolvent clubs and the EFL’s efforts to help secure a long-term future for Bury FC.
The review team will consider all evidence carefully and at the conclusion of Phase One, an interim report will set out the history and causes of Bury FC’s financial difficulties and identify the key lessons to be learned for the future.
That will feed into the next phase where the review will focus on the effectiveness of the EFL’s regulations and procedures in ensuring the financial sustainability of EFL Clubs. Jonathan Taylor QC will make recommendations on modifications to the EFL’s Articles of Association, regulations and procedures for consideration by the EFL Board and clubs. Any changes approved by the clubs at the EFL’s 2020 AGM would then come into immediate effect.
Debbie Jevans, EFL Executive Chair, said: “The withdrawal of Bury FC’s membership is one of the most difficult decisions we have ever had to take at the EFL. This review will help everyone to understand what happened at Bury and ensure that, collectively, we learn and apply the right lessons for the future.
“The financial sustainability of EFL clubs is of vital importance to supporters and communities across the country as well as to the growth and development of the League itself. The EFL recognises its responsibility to examine whether we can improve our regulations and procedures in this area. In close collaboration with our membership, we want to play our part in helping to ensure a successful and prosperous future for the EFL so our Clubs can contribute to their communities for many years to come.”