Barnsley chief executive officer Dane Murphy has come out and spoke of his hope that those Championship clubs who have been charged by the EFL for breaching rules be penalised this season should they be found guilty.
Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday have been charged with breaching profitability and sustainability rules whilst Birmingham City have been charged with failing to adhere to an EFL business plan. All three sides could face substantial points deductions should they be found guilty.
Here is where it gets interesting as Derby are 12 points above the relegation zone, Wednesday 9 points and Birmingham only 8 points. A substantial points deduction this season would place any one of those sides into a relegation dogfight.
The problem for Murphy and Barnsley as well as Luton Town who support what the Tykes are saying is that it all appears sour grapes with Barnsley currently bottom of the league table with only 9 games remaining.
Whilst the timing isn’t great from Murphy, the point he makes is a valid one.
You could argue many ifs and buts as those clubs mentioned have not yet been found guilty but two scenarios will show why it is important that the EFL punish sides who breach their rules in the same season that they were found guilty.
Scenario 1: Sheffield Wednesday are found guilty of breaching the rules and one result of that verdict is a points deduction. If that points deduction is set in place for the 2020/21 season, the Owls are allowed to play Championship football next season but on minus points.
That allows Wednesday to play in the higher league, with all the various higher revenue streams (tv money, etc) and arguably Wednesday should have a good enough squad to overcome that points deduction and end up mid table therefore avoiding relegation to League One.
If Wednesday were given the points deduction this season, there is a real possibility they could be relegated. Looking at their points tally now and the poor run of form the club were on before lockdown, this is a possibility.
Should Wednesday be relegated, then they play in a league with far lower revenue streams which you could say is a bigger deterrent than being allowed to play in the Championship on minus points.
My point being is if clubs face a real threat of relegation should they be found guilty, maybe just maybe they will follow the rules like the likes of Barnsley do.
Scenario 2: There are far more ifs and buts here but bear with me.
If Wednesday or Derby were currently sitting in a play off or automatic promotion place, ultimately were promoted to the Premier League but found guilty and given a minus points tally to start off life in the top division would this really be a punishment?
By adding any points deduction into next season rather than this means a club would still earn over £100m for getting to the Premier League. Should a side be penalised this season, then the Premier League dream would be over and they would finish mid table of the Championship. Isn’t this a greater deterrent than passing on the penalty into the following season?
It doesn’t seem right that a club could be found guilty one season but the penalty is not applied until the following season where a club would have over 40 games to claw back any points deduction.
Sadly all of this will pale into insignificance as the timing appears more like sour grapes from the Tykes, but they make a very good point in what they are saying.