Barnsley are reportedly one of a number of Championship sides considering legal action if they’re relegated and Birmingham City, Derby County, or Sheffield Wednesday are allowed to start the 2020/21 campaign on minus points as a result of the EFL’s cases against them.
Both Wednesday and Derby are awaiting EFL hearings over misconduct charges concerning the sales of their stadiums to companies owned by the club owners, which allowed them to stay within profitability and sustainability (P&S) guidelines in previous seasons.
According to The Athletic, the EFL has lodged a second appeal against the decision to clear Birmingham of an alleged offence linked to their previous breach of the P&S rules.
It is understood that the punishment in the cases against Derby and Wednesday could be severe and include a fine, a transfer embargo, or a points deduction.
It is thought that the maximum points deduction would be 21 points, which would mean both Derby and Wednesday would move below Barnsley and into the relegation zone.
The Tykes are bottom of the table as things stand – seven points adrift of safety with nine games left of the season.
Speaking to The Athletic, Barnsley co-owner Paul Conway revealed they would consider legal action if they felt the EFL had not acted appropriately concerning the clubs in question.
He explained: “People seem to think little old Barnsley will follow the rules and not make a fuss.
“If we’ve been wronged as a result of the league not following its own rules, then it stands to reason that we’d go against the league and its TV money and ask them to pay us the difference in revenue. We think that’s fair and we hope it will benefit other clubs who follow the rules and try to develop young talent.
“I’m an American and in American sports, we self-regulate — if someone breaks the rules, they are cheating the rest of us and we take action.
“We went through this two years ago, when we were five minutes from staying up on the last day only for Bolton to win and go above us. Everyone knew they were cheating the system and were hundreds of millions in debt.
“We decided not to do anything about it then but our attitude has changed. Relegation to League One cost us about £7 million in revenue. If something like that happens again, we’ll make a claim and we think we’ll have a strong case. We’re not asking for a change in the rules. We are asking for the rules to be followed.”
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This is a bold statement to make and stance to take up from Conway but a completely understandable one.
If all three clubs were to face points deductions this season it could mean the Tykes stay in the Championship, which would be huge.
It is going to be very interesting to see how things develop over the next few weeks and months.