CLUBS BRIEFED ON OWNERS’ CONDUCT REVIEW
The EFL’s Summer Conference 2018 has concluded, with a number of proposals formally adopted into EFL Regulations during its Annual General Meeting.
In total, 17 regulation amendments or additions were put forward by the EFL Board alongside one proposed resolution to amend the Articles of Association. 75% of the membership is required to pass a change in the Articles, whilst 50% plus 1 of all Clubs and 50% plus 1 of Championship Clubs is needed to effect a change in EFL regulations.
Prior to the formalities of the AGM, Clubs were provided with the conclusion to the Owners’ Conduct Review, which was introduced last year following a number of concerns in the area of Club ownership. This included three proposals as part of the 2018/19 regulatory changes.
The highlights of the 2018 AGM included:
1. MATCH PROGRAMMES
A number of Clubs had previously asked the EFL if the mandatory publication of a match programme could be addressed as a result of an overall decline in sales and the proliferation of digital and social media, which has the ability to deliver the same content in a more cost effective manner. Mandatory publication of a programme was required due to a number of the EFL’s partnership, sponsorship and opt in agreements.
EFL Clubs approved an amendment which allows Clubs to opt out of providing advertising in match programmes on the basis it is replaced with other inventory. This amendment will mean that the requirement to deliver programme advertising in the EFL Regulations will only apply if a match programme is produced. The amended regulation provides each Club with the option to determine whether or not they publish a match programme.
2. GROUND CRITERIA – SHARED GROUNDS
It was agreed that, from 5 May 2019 onwards, the EFL will ordinarily limit the number of sports in a ground share application to football, plus one other.
Clubs who ground share with another sport must have a hybrid or similar pitch installed. For existing ground shares, this requirement will come into effect from 1 July 2019.
3. SAFEGUARDING OPERATING STANDARDS
A new regulation will provide the EFL Board with the ability to implement appropriate operational standards relating to safeguarding of young persons and vulnerable adults (Safeguarding Operational Standards) if and when appropriate.
OWNERS’ CONDUCT REVIEW
As a result of the Owners’ Conduct Review, a number of key recommendations were developed to specifically address some of the reputational issues facing the EFL and its Clubs. This followed the comprehensive consultation with Clubs that was initiated in September 2017.
Three formal proposals were put forward to the AGM and subsequently voted into EFL Regulations.
1. INTRODUCTION OF A CLUB CHARTER
The introduction of a new Club Charter which will act as a statement of the EFL’s commitment to run EFL Clubs to the highest possible standards in a professional manner and with the utmost integrity.
In addition, the Charter commits all Clubs to behave with the utmost good faith and honesty to each other, while complying with the laws of the game and ensuring that all Club officials comply with the decisions of the EFL and its various decision making bodies at all times.
2. OVERDUE PAYABLES
The extension of the existing rule, which sanctions Clubs for non-payment of transfer fees or loan fees, to also cover any amounts due between Clubs, including loan wages and ticket monies, and payments to staff which would otherwise rank as a ‘football creditor’ under the Articles of Association.
3. OWNERS’ AND DIRECTORS’ TEST
An amendment to the Owners’ and Directors’ Test was agreed which prohibits a registered Intermediary from engaging in activities that fall within the definition of a ‘Director’ under the EFL Regulations. This amendment brings the EFL into clearer alignment with the Rules of the FA.
In addition to the changes to EFL Regulations, there were two other specific areas addressed that have been highlighted as part of the review. These were:
1. EFL POLICY ON TAKING ACTION AGAINST INDIVIDUALS
The EFL Chairman proposed the adoption of a new policy in circumstances where it is considered appropriate to take direct action against individuals who fail to meet the standards that are expected of them under the Regulations.
The policy outlines that it should be reserved for the following circumstances:
• A very serious single act or persistent serious acts;
• Relating to the operation of an EFL football Club;
• Where the individual’s conduct is clearly damaging to the standing and reputation of the wider profession and the game of football.
The Board will look to formally adopt the policy at its next meeting on 26 July.
2. FINANCIAL CONTROLS IN LEAGUE ONE AND LEAGUE TWO
Discussions with League One and League Two Clubs will continue around the principles of budgeting and funding commitments and whether any changes should be made to the SCMP Rules or existing Regulations.
This debate will continue at September’s Divisional meetings.