'Furious' Middlesbrough owner demands EFL investigation into Championship rivals Aston Villa, Derby and Sheff Wed

Middlesbrough FC.
Middlesbrough FC.

Middlesbrough owner Steve Gibson has demanded more scrutiny into the financial conduct of Championship rivals Aston Villa, Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday.

Gibson has written to the EFL demanding a meeting to address his concerns over what he believes to be breaches of financial regulations and to pressure the football league’s governing body into enforcing their own rules.

The issue came to light in a report by the Telegraph which claimed Gibson believes the three targeted clubs are unfairly attempting to bypass the new profitability and sustainability rules.

The Telegraph report said: “Gibson is understood to be “furious” that Middlesbrough have sold over £40 million worth of players, including Adama Traore, Ben Gibson and Patrick Bamford, to balance the books, while in his view other clubs are manipulating the rules by allocating some costs to stay in line.

“Derby, for example, recently sold their Pride Park stadium to owner Mel Morris and then leased it back to ensure the club recorded a profit in their 2017/18 accounts.”

The Boro owner has called for a meeting, scheduled to take place next Wednesday and representatives from all 24 Championship clubs are due to be present.

Gibson is expected to outline his concerns.

Clubs are currently only required to submit basic accounts and Gibson is calling for more detailed accounts and for it to be open for other clubs to examine.

The Telegraph report sources at Derby County insist they have been ‘fully compliant’ with the new profitability and sustainability rules and that they do not fear a similar fate to Birmingham, recently docked nine points by the EFL.

Boro manager Tony Pulis, in his programme notes for the recent game against Norwich City, wrote: “Steve has worked hard to abide by the EFL’s financial rules, but it’s clear that a number of clubs aren’t, and that simply cannot be right.

“Birmingham’s nine-point deduction should set a precedent now for those other clubs who are not complying with the rules.

“Over the past year here, we have brought money in through the sales of players and reduced the wages, and we have cut our cloth accordingly.

“Yet at the same time, there are others in apparent breach of the rules, and that cannot be right.”