Middlesbrough set to sue English Football League over alleged failure to enforce financial rules during Derby County’s stadium purchase


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legal fight


By Billy Hawkins

13th September 2019,
8:59 am

Updated: 13th September 2019,
8:59 am

Middlesbrough will reportedly sue the English Football League over their alleged failure to enforce financial rules in relation to Derby selling their own stadium to owner Mel Morris.

Derby have been accused of exploiting an EFL loophole by selling Pride Park to a company owned by Morris, with the transaction going through for £80million despite the ground being on the club’s books with a valuation of just £41m.

Pride Park is now owned by Morris and leased back to the club

Getty Images – Getty

Pride Park is now owned by Morris and leased back to the club

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The stadium was independently valued before the sale, and then leased back to the club.

As a result, Derby reported a pre-tax profit of £14.6m when losses in excess of £13m are in breach of the League’s profit and sustainability rules.

Derby ended up finishing the Championship season inside the top six, qualifying for a play-off place but losing in the Wembley showpiece to Aston Villa.

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Middlesbrough ended up one point behind the Rams, and The Times claim they’ve sent a legal letter to the EFL with plans to sue the League over Derby’s stadium purchase.

Their claim is said to be based on the fact they finished behind Derby in the Championship table, thus missing out on the play-offs and possible promotion to the Premier League.

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Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • Derby vs Cardiff (Friday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Liverpool vs Newcastle (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Fulham vs West Brom (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Tottenham vs Crystal Palace (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Norwich vs Man City (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Huddersfield vs Sheffield Wednesday (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Barnsley vs Leeds (Sunday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT

Middlesbrough allege that the EFL failed to enforce its own financial rules when Derby sold Pride Park to Morris.

It is understood the EFL have ordered an independent valuation of Pride Park under pressure from Championship clubs, with Sheffield Wednesday and Reading’s stadiums to also be valued.

Derby return to Championship action tonight with the visit of Cardiff to Pride Park. talkSPORT 2 will bring you full commentary of the match, LIVE from 7:45pm.


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Chris Wright

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