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Championship clubs reject Middlesbrough owner Steve Gibson's proposal to have their finances independently reviewed

John Percy
Gibson is unhappy with the conduct of Derby County, Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday - Getty Images

Middlesbrough owner Steve Gibson’s bid to force an independent review of Championship clubs’ finances was rejected on Wednesday. Following a six-hour meeting in Nottingham, Gibson’s proposal was overturned by the “majority” of the Championship.

Gibson is unhappy with the conduct of Derby County, Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday, after insisting they could be breaching the profitability and sustainability rules by using unfair methods. The 61-year-old is particularly frustrated that Derby owner Mel Morris was allowed to lease back the Pride Park stadium to ensure the club recorded a profit in their 2017-18 accounts.

At yesterday’s meeting, Gibson raised the prospect of the English Football League appointing accountants to review clubs’ finances.

A senior executive present at the meeting, said: “The EFL finance team did such a superb presentation on their processes and policies that everyone realised it was totally unnecessary to question their work and second-guess their FFP [Financial Fair Play] findings.

“Taking potshots at clubs’ accounts when on-field results go badly, if encouraged, will lead to a free-for-all which will bring the league into disrepute.

“We all realised after discussion that we need to leave non-sporting matters to the EFL. It is right to let the authorities do their job and not have interference from people with ulterior motives.”

An EFL spokesman said:

“Championship Clubs met on Wednesday where there was a positive exchange of ideas on a number of different issues, including the League’s Profitability and Sustainability rules.  

“The long term sustainability of all EFL Clubs remains of paramount importance to the EFL Board and they will continue to work with Clubs in respect of the rules.  

“Clubs were also reminded of the stringent processes undertaken in reviewing financial submissions and that in the event any Club is found to be in breach of the rules, they will be referred to an Independent Disciplinary Commission.”