Former EFL chief executive responds to Middlesbrough and Leeds United criticism after Derby County stadium row

Former EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey says Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson is one of the best in the Championship – despite recent criticism from the Boro owner.

Thursday, 10th October 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th October 2019, 5:45 pm
Shaun Harvey stepped down from his role as the EFL's chief executive at the end of last season.

Gibson branded the Harvey regime “absolutely hopeless”, following the recent demise of Bury and ongoing dispute over a stadium loophole which allowed clubs to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations.

It was reported last month that Boro are considering legal action against the EFL after Derby owner Mel Morris used a separate company to buy the club’s stadium with a deal to lease it back.

Championship clubs Sheffield Wednesday and Reading have also been accused of sanctioning similar deals, yet Morris has strongly argued that Derby haven’t broken any rules.

Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani has also been vocal about the subject and suggested the stadium sales should have been viewed in the same light as the 'Spygate' scandal.

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But in an interview with the Telegraph, his first since leaving the role at the end of last season, Harvey denied that a 2016 rule change opened the door for clubs to exploit the stadium loophole, and claimed it is for clubs to decide whether they close it again.

The 2016 alteration saw the EFL align their rules with those of the Premier League but, due to the increased revenue in the top-flight, there is less need to raise extra funds through a stadium sale.

Harvey refused to respond to Gibson’s criticism and instead praised the Boro owner.