Sta­dium sales face fresh scru­tiny in EFL probe

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Sport | Football - By John Percy

The English Football League has ap­pointed QCS from the le­gal team which ad­vised the Gov­ern­ment on Brexit as it steps up an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into sta­dium sales at three Cham­pi­onship clubs.

Derby County, Sh­effield Wed­nes­day and Read­ing are un­der scru­tiny from the EFL over the val­u­a­tions of their sta­di­ums, with an un­sched­uled board meet­ing held in Lon­don yesterday to dis­cuss the sit­u­a­tion.

It has been al­leged by a num­ber of Cham­pi­onship clubs, in­clud­ing Mid­dles­brough, that the three breached prof­itabil­ity and sus­tain­abil­ity rules by sell­ing their sta­di­ums and then leas­ing them back. Derby have de­fended the £80mil­lion val­u­a­tion of their Pride Park home and in­sist they were fully com­pli­ant with the rules when they filed their ac­counts for the 2017-18 sea­son. An EFL spokesman said: “Fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion is still re­quired on a num­ber of is­sues in re­spect of the prof­itabil­ity and sus­tain­abil­ity sub­mis­sions of some Cham­pi­onship clubs.”

In a state­ment last month, Derby said: “The sta­dium was sub­ject to an in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional val­u­a­tion be­fore sale, nearly 18 months ago, and the EFL in­di­cated in writ­ing that the ar­range­ment was in ac­cor­dance with its rules and reg­u­la­tions. The EFL can­not now, long af­ter ap­prov­ing the ar­range­ments, sug­gest Derby breached the rules.” Wed­nes­day and Read­ing have al­ways de­fended their po­si­tions.

The EFL is un­der­stood to have en­listed QCS from Black­stone Cham­bers – which ad­vised the Gov­ern­ment on Brexit in the Supreme Court – to as­sist its in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

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