Derby County owner Mel Morris hits back at Middlesbrough's financial complaint

Derby County owner Mel Morris doesn’t believe the club have broken the EFL's financial rules despite complaints from Championship rivals Middlesbrough.

Friday, 13th September 2019, 12:45 pm
Derby owner Mel Morris.

It has been claimed that Boro are set to sue the EFL for failing to enforce its financial rules on the Rams, after Derby owner Mel Morris used a separate company to buy the club’s stadium, Pride Park, with a deal to lease it back.

Pride Park was listed as an asset on the club’s books for £41million but was bought for a reported £80million which allowed Derby to comply with the EFL’s profit and sustainability rules.

It meant Derby recorded a pre-tax profit of £14.6million this year, yet their reported losses over a three-year period would have broken the EFL’s regulations.

The EFL’s profit and sustainability rule states that clubs are only allowed to record losses of £13million a season over a three-year period.

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After breaking this rule, Birmingham City received a nine-point deduction last campaign.

However, Morris, who has previously criticised Boro chairman Steve Gibson, doesn’t believe Derby have breached any rules

“Middlesbrough are entitled to do whatever they feel they need to do,” Morris told TalkSport. “But the bottom line is we approached this thing very professionally 18 months ago when we looked at utilising the stadium for other purposes.

“If we solve the problem of the weather and the grass we have the opportunity to use the stadium for a variety of different events.

“The valuation of the stadium was not based on that, it was as a football stadium. When you put a roof on and are able to cover the pitch, the value of the stadium would rocket even further.

“I don’t know what’s corrupt about it. Is it any different if you sell a player? You plan your purchases around what your P&L is going to show.

“If you’ve got a player who’s worth £50million you can use that. We didn’t use a loophole, let’s be very clear on this. The rules are extremely specific – the sale of a fixed asset is allowable.”