Championship side Middlesbrough F.C has shocked their league rivals Derby County by announcing their intention to take legal action against the club.
Middlesbrough owner, Steve Gibson has decided on this course of action as part of his ongoing dispute with Derby County owner Mel Morris over what Mr. Gibson insists are breaches of the English Football League (EFL) financial rules.
Mr. Gibson alleges that Derby County have broken the EFL rules related to profitability and sustainability and officials from his club contacted Derby County to inform them of their planned legal action.
Middlesbrough main concern revolves around Derby reporting a profit of £14.6 million in their 2017/18 financial accounts following which Mr. Morris sold the club’s Pride Park Stadium and then leased it back. As a result, Mr. Gibson believes Derby County breached the EFL financial rules.
Derby County were not happy with Middlesbrough’s the timing of their announcement, which came just days before they lost to Aston Villa in the play-off final at Wembley Stadium.
Mr. Morris said: “Middlesbrough were offered by us in writing to come with their advisors to go through our submissions for profitability and sustainability, [but] they declined.”
It is interesting to note that an attempt from Middlesbrough to force an independent enquiry into their league rival’s finances was also rejected by the other Championship clubs during another meeting in April.
The dispute is currently showing no signs of being settled and it appears a legal battle could be on the horizon.
For more information on financial rules in football, listen to our latest podcast where Mohit Pasricha at Mackrell Turner Garrett discusses the laws associated with financial fair play, also known as FFP.
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