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Section 3 - The League

5 Divisional Structure of The League Competition

5.1 Not more than 72 Clubs shall compete in the League Competition. The Clubs from time to time in membership of The League shall be grouped into three divisions, to be known as The Championship, League 1 and League 2 respectively or such other titles as may be determined by the Board in consultation with Clubs. 5.2 The Championship and League 1 shall, subject to the provisions of Regulation 12 (Cessation of Membership) each consist of 24 Clubs. League 2 shall comprise the remainder of the Clubs then in membership of The League.

5.3 Subject to the provisions of the Articles of Association and these Regulations, The League may from time to time and upon such terms and conditions as it may think fit admit any Association Football club as a member or expel or accept the retirement of any member from The League provided always that no member may be expelled without the sanction of a special resolution passed at an Annual or Extraordinary General Meeting of The League. Any casual vacancy occurring in the membership of The League may be filled by the Board.

5.4 The numbers of Clubs in each Division can only be changed from 24 with the agreement of any other Division affected by such changes.

6 Competitions Organised by The League

6.1 The League shall conduct and in every respect control each Season football competitions, being both league and cup competitions, to be called the League Competition, The EFL Cup, and such other competitions as the Board may from time to time determine and at all times safeguard the interest of the Clubs. For the avoidance of doubt, such competitions may include small sided competitions, or such other competitions, being variants of association football, as the Board may from time to time determine.

6.2 All Clubs and the members from time to time of The Premier League shall take part in The EFL Cup. All Clubs that are eligible shall take part in such other competitions as the Board may from time to time determine each Season. Whenever requested by the Board all Clubs shall take part in any small sided games or other competitions organised by The League and shall observe the Rules of the relevant competition.

6.3 The control of all competitions that the Board may decide to promote shall be vested in the Board who shall in all ways act as the management committee of the competition and determine the rules of the competition.

6.4 All Clubs (and clubs) shall comply with the requirements of The League in respect of the sale of tickets to any match played under the auspices of The League. Failure to do so will constitute misconduct. Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, where in these Regulations or the relevant competition rules a Club is expressed as being entitled to a share of the proceeds of such match, that entitlement may be reduced to reflect any financial penalty imposed for a breach of this Regulation.

6.5 The Board shall have power to arrange Inter-League or other match or matches and to authorise or arrange or control additional competitions and/or matches in which Clubs take part as they in their discretion may deem expedient always subject to The Football Association Regulations for the Sanction and Control of Leagues and Competitions with the exception of Football Association and County Football Association Competitions. For any of the purposes aforesaid they may select such of the grounds and Registered Players of the Clubs upon such terms and conditions as they may think fit. Any Club or Registered Player failing to comply with the directions of the Board under this Regulation shall be guilty of misconduct.

7 Application for and Relegation from Membership

7.1 Any club that wishes to be promoted from The National League to The League at the end of a Season, (whether by way of automatic promotion or by way of any approved play-off competition approved in accordance with Regulation 10.1.3) must, by the 31st December in that Season, have lodged with The League such documentation and other evidence as may be required to satisfy The League that it:

7.1.1 will by 1st March in that Season comply with the Qualification Criteria;

7.1.2 will by 1st July prior to its first Season as a Member Club comply with the requirements of Appendix 1, Part 3;

7.1.3 will by 30th April in its first Season as a Member Club comply with the Admission Criteria;

7.1.4 will by 30th April in its third Season as a Member Club comply with the Membership Criteria; and

7.1.5 will with effect from the date of acceptance as a Member Club, comply with Regulation 13 (with the proviso of security of tenure of not less than 10 full Seasons following promotion) and Regulation 15 (no Artificial Surface),

in accordance with these Regulations (as applicable as at the date of the application). Any club making such an application shall be referred to as an ‘Applicant Club’.

7.2 Applicant Clubs will be required to confirm that they agree to be bound by any provisions of these Regulations relating to:

7.2.1 the process for making an application;

7.2.2 the definitions of Qualification Criteria, Admission Criteria and Membership Criteria;

7.2.3 the provisions of Section 9, Arbitration (in relation to any challenge to any decision of The League in respect of the application); and

7.2.4 any other provisions of these Regulations as are applicable to the issue of promotion and relegation between the National League and The League,

each as applicable as at the date of application.

7.3 The League shall, no later than 1st March following receipt of the application, provide to each Applicant Club confirmation in writing as to whether the Applicant Club meets the criteria for promotion as set out in this Regulation 7 or not.

7.4 Provision of confirmation that an Applicant Club meets the criteria for promotion is without prejudice to the rights of the Board to refuse to register a transfer of membership pursuant to and in accordance with Article 6.1 of the Articles of Association of The League. 7.5 Submitting an application in accordance with this Regulation 7 constitutes an agreement in writing between the Applicant Club and The League (for the purposes of section 5 of the Arbitration Act) to submit any dispute relating to a determination by The League that the Applicant Club does not meet the criteria for promotion as set out in this Regulation 7 to final and binding arbitration in accordance with the provisions of the Arbitration Act, as a Board Dispute, in accordance with the provisions of Section 9 of these Regulations, subject to the following modifications:

7.5.1 the time limit for service of the Notice of Arbitration is within 7 days of the date of issue of The League’s decision; 7.5.2 the time limits set out in Regulation 94.2 and 94.3 (Appointing the Arbitrators) shall in each case be reduced from 14 days to two business days; and

7.5.3 the parties shall each use their best endeavours to ensure that the arbitration is concluded no later than the conclusion of the final round of fixtures in the National League competition in that Season.

7.6 Decisions of The League (or League Arbitration Panel, if applicable) in any one Season shall relate only to the application made in that Season, and not bind The League (or any League Arbitration Panel) in any future Season.

7.7 At the end of each Season the Clubs occupying the bottom two places of League 2 shall, in accordance with the Articles of Association and these Regulations, cease to be members of The League and join the National League, save as otherwise provided in Regulations 10, 11 and 12.

7.8 At the end of each Season the Clubs occupying the bottom three places in The Premier League shall, in accordance with The Premier League's Articles of Association, Rules and Regulations,

be admitted to membership of The League in accordance with the provisions of the Articles of Association and these Regulations. The two Clubs which finish in the highest positions in The Championship of the League Competition, together with the Club winning The Championship Play-Off of the League Competition in accordance with Regulation 10, in accordance with the provisions of the Articles of Association and these Regulations cease to be members of The League and join The Premier League.

8 Divisional Criteria

8.1 The Clubs have adopted the membership criteria and the timescales for both existing Clubs and those who become members of The League in the future, as set out in Appendix 1 ('Criteria'), subject to any dispensations granted by the Board.

8.2 A Club which does not satisfy the appropriate Criteria set out in Part 1 (capacity and seating) by the due date may be expelled from membership of The League. The Board will convene a general meeting within 60 days of the due date and will propose an ordinary resolution for the expulsion of that Club. If the resolution is passed the Club shall cease to be a member of The League on the date specified in the resolution. In either passing or not passing the resolution the Clubs may impose conditions on such Club for continued membership of The League.

8.3 Subject to any dispensations granted by the Board, a Club which does not satisfy the appropriate criteria set out in Part 2 (floodlighting) shall, until such time as the Club is able to satisfy the requirements, have such amounts as the Board shall determine (in its absolute discretion) withheld from that Club’s central distributions from the Pool Account until such time as the Club can meet the requirement.

8.4 A Club which does not comply with the appropriate criteria set out in Part 3 (Club and Stadium Facilities) of Appendix 1 shall be guilty of misconduct, subject to the provisions of Regulation 8.5 and any dispensations granted by the Board. 8.5 A Club admitted to The League under Regulation 10.1.3 (Promotion and Relegation between League 2 and The National League), notwithstanding the dates set out in the relevant Regulations, shall have until the 30th April following admittance as a Member to comply with the following requirements: 8.5.1 Regulation 8.3, Floodlighting Requirements for a League Two Club; 8.5.2 Regulation 34.1, the number of seats on Trainers Benches to increase to 13; 8.5.3 Regulation 34.2.1, not less than 200 away supporters to be accommodated under cover; 8.5.4 Appendix 1, Part 3, Paragraph 19 (Dressing Rooms); (or demonstrate to The League’s satisfaction that it has the ability to comply by the 30th June following the end of that Season); and 8.5.5 Appendix 1, part 3, Paragraph 27.4 (Playing Surface), the requirement for pitch protection. 8.6 A Club admitted to The League under Regulation 10.1.3 (Promotion and Relegation between League 2 and The National League) which fails by the 1st March following admittance as a Member to comply with the Admission Criteria (and is unable to demonstrate to The League’s satisfaction that it has the ability to comply by the 30th April) set out in Appendix 1 shall automatically forfeit all points earned by that date such that they shall be automatically relegated to The National League at the conclusion of that Season in accordance with Regulation 7.7.

9 Method of Determining League Positions

9.1 At the end of each Season the Club in each Division scoring the highest number of points shall be declared the Champion Club of that Division. Three points shall be awarded for each League

Match won. One point will be awarded to each Club for a drawn match. If two or more Clubs have scored the same number of points their position in the Division shall be determined on goal difference, that is to say, the difference between the total number of goals scored by and against a Club in League Matches in that Season, and the higher or highest placed Club shall be the Club with the highest goal difference. If any two or more Clubs have scored the same number of points and have the same goal difference the higher or highest placed Club shall be the Club having scored the most goals in League Matches in that Season.

9.2 If two or more Clubs have the same number of points, goal difference and goals scored the highest placed Club shall be determined by the respective League records against each other, taking into account in order of precedence, points gained, goal difference and goals scored. If the above procedures do not separate the Clubs, then the Clubs concerned shall play off a deciding League Match or Matches under arrangements approved by the Board on a neutral ground. The net gate money after deducting the usual match expenses shall be equally divided between the two competing Clubs. Any Club staging such a play off match shall be entitled to charge as an expense against the receipts of the match 10% of the gross gate receipts after deduction of Value Added Tax. In the event of such a match being arranged by the Board to be played on the ground of a Club which is not a member of The League, then a similar charge as an expense against the receipts of the match shall be paid by The League who shall otherwise be responsible for the financial arrangements made with the Club staging the match. These provisions shall determine the ranking of Clubs in their respective Divisions.

10 Promotion, Relegation and Play-Offs

10.1 The following provisions shall have effect in relation to the admission of new members of The League and promotion, relegation and retirement:

10.1.1 Promotion and relegation between The Premier League and The Championship

(a) At the end of each Season, The League shall accept into membership the three clubs finishing in the lowest three places in The Premier League, in accordance with the Articles of Association, rules and regulations of The Premier League.

(b) At the end of each Season, the two Clubs finishing in the highest positions in The Championship of the League Competition shall be promoted to The Premier League in accordance with the Articles of Association, rules and regulations of The Premier League. The four next highest Clubs in The Championship shall take part in a Play-Off Competition. The winner of the Play-Off Competition shall also be promoted to The Premier League upon the same terms.

(c) The number of Clubs to be promoted and relegated between The Premier League and The Championship shall be determined by agreement between The Premier League and The Championship.

(d) The two Clubs finishing in the highest positions in The Championship and the winner of The Championship Play-Off Competition shall no later than the 31st May in that Season pay to The League the sum of £165,334 by way of contribution towards the cost of The League making Parachute Payments available to the Clubs relegated from The Championship and League 1 in any one Season in accordance with Article 43. (e) For the avoidance of doubt the sums payable under Regulation 10.1.1(d) shall be considered to be sums due to The League for the purposes of Article 48.1.1 and shall not be discharged by reason of the Club ceasing to be a Member of The League by virtue of promotion to The Premier League.

10.1.2 Promotion and Relegation between The Championship, League 1 and League 2

(a) At the end of each Season, the two Clubs finishing in the highest positions in League 1 and the three Clubs finishing in the highest positions in League 2 shall be promoted to the next higher Division for the following Season. In addition the four next highest Clubs in League 1 will take part in a Play-Off Competition and the four next highest Clubs in League 2 will take part in a Play-Off Competition. The respective winners of the two Play-Off Competitions shall play in the next highest Division in the following Season.

(b) At the end of each Season the three Clubs in The Championship finishing lowest and the four Clubs in League 1 finishing lowest shall be relegated to play in the next lower Division in the following Season.

(c) If there are less than 20 Clubs in The Championship, the number of Clubs to be promoted and relegated between The Championship and League 1, shall be determined by agreement between The Championship and League 1. If as a result the number of Clubs in either Division changes, Regulation 5.2 shall apply.

(d) The two Clubs finishing in the highest positions in League 1 and the winner of the League One Play-Off Competition shall no later than the 31st May in that Season pay to The League the sum of £21,333 by way of contribution towards the cost of The League making Parachute Payments available to the Clubs relegated from League 1 in any one Season in accordance with Article 43. (e) For the avoidance of doubt the sums payable under Regulation 10.1.2(d) shall be considered to be sums due to The League for the purposes of Article 48.1.1.

10.1.3 Promotion and Relegation between League 2 and The National League

(a) At the end of each Season the Champion club of The National League and The National League Runner Up (be that determined on the basis of League position alone or by way of play off competition) shall be eligible to apply for promotion to The League, subject to:

(i) such clubs making application for membership of The League in accordance with Regulation 7 and receiving confirmation from The League (or, if applicable, the League Arbitration Panel) that the Club meets the criteria for promotion as set out in Regulations 7 and 8 and this Regulation 10;

(ii) The National League immediately accepting the retiring Clubs (pursuant to Regulation 7.7) as full members thereof; and

(iii) the format of the play-off competition (if any) operated by The National League having been approved by the Board in writing by the 30th June prior to the Season in which the play-off competition is to take place.

(b) If any of the foregoing conditions are not met by one or both of the clubs eligible to apply for promotion, the number of Clubs required to retire from League 2 may, in the Board’s absolute discretion, be reduced accordingly and no other Clubs from The National League shall be eligible to join The League for the ensuing Season.

(c) Any Club admitted as a Member of The League in accordance with this Regulation 10.1.3 shall have until the 30th April next following their admittance as a Member Club to ensure that the ground at which they play their home games complies with the Admission Criteria set out at Appendix 1.

10.1.4 Conduct of Play-Off Matches. The Board shall determine and shall, from time to time, be entitled to vary the format, timing and venues of and all other rules and regulations relating to the Play-Off Competitions referred to above save as follows:

(a) For all matches the Home Club will send The League details of its match arrangements and admission prices on the form(s) required by The League;

(b) The Home Club may not change its normal League admission charges without the written agreement of the Away Club. Any disagreement between the Clubs shall be determined by The League;

(c) In all Play-Off matches the expenses of the match shall include travelling and/or hotel expenses of Players and Officials of the Away Club. Such expenses shall be limited to those incurred for a party not exceeding twenty four in number. The Away Club shall be entitled to claim standard class railway fares and hotel expenses (at the rate and as determined by The League from time to time, per person per night or a maximum where there is no overnight stay) if incurred. Motor coach hire may be claimed in lieu of railway fares;

(d) In all Play-Off matches 50% of the net gate receipts shall be paid into the Pool Account referred to in Article 35 of the Articles of Association; and

(e) In all play-off matches apart from the final play-off matches the remaining 50% of the net gate receipts shall also be aggregated, Division by Division, and each Division’s aggregated monies shall be shared equally amongst the four Clubs taking part in that Division’s play-off matches. In the final play-off matches the remaining 50% of the net gate receipts shall be divided equally between the two Clubs taking part in each final play-off match.

11 Replacement of Clubs Ceasing to be Members

11.1 Admission of new Clubs. For so long as the number of Clubs in The League shall be 72 or more no new club shall be admitted as a member of The League to replace a Club ceasing to be a member. In the event of the number of Clubs falling to below 72 the Board shall be empowered to admit clubs as new members up to a maximum number of 72 Clubs. Such new members shall only be admitted prior to the beginning of a Season, and shall play in League 2 in their first Season.

12 Retirement and Admission of Clubs

12.1 Clubs retiring from The League pursuant to Regulations 10 and 11 shall retire with effect from the end of the relevant Season, whereupon new Clubs taking their places shall be admitted and be deemed to have been formally elected as members of The League. With effect from such time any new Club shall become entitled to receive a transfer of and to exercise the rights attaching to such share in The League held by the retiring Club as the Board shall direct and each of the retiring Clubs shall procure that, with effect from such date and until the respective transferee Club has been registered as the holder of its share in the Register of Members of The League, the rights attaching thereto shall be exercised in such manner as such transferee Club shall direct.

12.2 Cessation of membership. If a Club (or Clubs) ceases to be a member of The League for any reason (including, without limitation, pursuant to Article 4 of the Articles of Association or by way of relegation or expulsion for disciplinary reasons):

12.2.1 during any Normal Playing Season, its playing record shall be expunged and the number of relegation places from the relevant Division for that Season shall be reduced by the number of Clubs ceasing to be members;

12.2.2 during the period between the end of the Normal Playing Season and the conclusion of the last Play-Off Match for that Season, its playing record shall not be expunged but the number of relegation places from the relevant Division for that Season shall be reduced by the number of Clubs ceasing to be members; or

12.2.3 during the period between the conclusion of the last Play-Off Match and the start of the following Season, its playing record shall not be expunged but the number of relegation places from the Division in which a Club would have played but for its cessation of membership, shall be reduced by the number of Clubs ceasing to be members and, during that Season, the relevant Division shall operate with a reduced number of Clubs.

12.3 Sporting Sanctions

Introduction

The following Regulation provides for how sporting sanctions will be applied to Clubs when the Club, or any Group Undertaking, becomes subject to or suffers an Insolvency Event, and also makes provision for an appeals mechanism, but only on the grounds of ‘Force Majeure’.

By way of clarification the following are identified as circumstances which it is intended would be embraced under the category of ‘Force Majeure’. It is intended that this appeals process should be limited to circumstances which are deemed unforeseeable and unavoidable. In all these examples, each case would have to be considered on its own merits:

Club Income: In the event that a club suffers material adverse effects upon the loss of anticipated income streams which mean that it is unable to meet its liabilities as and when they fall due. This could only be grounds for appeal, however, if the loss occurs during the currency of a binding agreement (i.e. not upon expiry).

Default by another Club: In circumstances where an insolvency event is caused by the default of another football club. Once again, however, for this to constitute legitimate grounds for appeal, the outstanding payments must be significant enough to have had a material and adverse effect upon the Club.

12.3.1 If any Club becomes subject to or suffers an Insolvency Event, that Club shall be deducted 12 points.

12.3.2 If a Group Undertaking of a Club becomes subject to or suffers an Insolvency Event, then the Board shall have the power to impose upon the Club a deduction of 12 points scored or to be scored in the League Competition. In exercising this power the Board shall have regard to all the circumstances of the case and to:

(a) such of the provisions of the Insolvency Act, the Competition Act 1998 and the Enterprise Act 2002 as are relevant and then in force;

(b) the need to protect the integrity and continuity of the League Competition;

(c) the reputation of The League and the need to promote the game of association football generally; and

(d) the relationship between the Club and the Group Undertaking. 12.3.3 Subject to the provisions of Regulation 12.3.4 below, where the Club becomes subject to or suffers an Insolvency Event, or the Board impose a deduction in accordance with Regulation 12.3.2:

(a) during the Normal Playing Season but prior to 5.00pm on the fourth Thursday in March, the points deduction shall apply immediately;

(b) during the Normal Playing Season but after 5.00pm on the fourth Thursday in March, Regulation 12.3.4 shall apply; and

(c) outside the Normal Playing Season, the points deduction shall apply in respect of the following Season such that the Club starts that Season on minus 12 points (including in the National League if appropriate). 12.3.4 Where the circumstances set out in Regulation 12.3.3(b) apply and at the end of that Season, having regard to the number of championship points awarded (ignoring any potential deduction): (a) the Club would be relegated in accordance with Regulation 10.1.2(b) or 7.7, the points deduction will apply in the next following Season (including in the National League if appropriate); or

(b) the Club would not be relegated as aforesaid, the points deduction will apply in that Season and Regulation 10.1.2(b) or 7.7 will then apply (if appropriate) following imposition of the points deduction.

12.3.5 For the avoidance of doubt, where a Club and/or Group Undertaking is subject to more than one of the procedures in Regulation 12.3.1 above during a process of compromising creditors (for example Administration followed by a Company Voluntary Arrangement), the Club shall only be deducted one set of 12 points, such deduction to apply with effect from the first Insolvency Event.

12.3.6 If:

(a) any club relegated to The League from The Premier League (in accordance with the rules of The Premier League) (a ‘Relegated Club’) whilst it was a member of The Premier League became subject to or suffered an Insolvency Event at any time following the end of the season (as defined in the rules of The Premier League) but before the Relegated Club becomes a member of The League, then that Relegated Club, upon being accepted as a member of The League in accordance with Regulations 7.8 and 10.1 shall suffer a deduction of 12 points in the League Competition, such points deduction to apply in respect of the following Season such that the Club starts that Season in The Championship on minus 12 points;

(b) any Group Undertaking of a Relegated Club, whilst the Relegated Club was a member of The Premier League, became subject to or suffered an Insolvency Event at any time following the end of the season (season being as defined in the rules of The Premier League) but before the Relegated Club becomes a member of The League, then the Board shall have the power to impose upon that Relegated Club, upon being accepted as a member of The League in accordance with Regulations 7.8 and 10.1, a deduction of 12 points in the League Competition. In exercising this power the Board shall have regard to all the circumstances of the case and the matters set out in Regulation 12.3.2. Where the Board impose a deduction in accordance with this Regulation, the Relegated Club shall suffer a deduction of 12 points in the League Competition, such points deduction to apply in respect of the following Season such that the Club starts that Season in The Championship on minus 12 points.

12.3.7 If:

(a) any club promoted to The League from the National League (in accordance with the rules of the National League and these Regulations) (a ‘Promoted Club’) became subject to or suffered an Insolvency Event whilst it was a member of the National League and the circumstances set out in rule 14A.2.3 of the rules of the National League apply then that Promoted Club, on becoming a Club, shall suffer a deduction of 12 points in respect of that Club’s first Season in The League such that the Club starts the Season in League Two on minus 12 points;

(b) any Group Undertaking of a Promoted Club, whilst the Promoted Club was a member of The National League, became subject to or suffered an Insolvency Event whilst it was a member of the National League and the circumstances set out in rule 14A.2.3 of the rules of the National League apply, but before the Promoted Club becomes a member of The League, then the Board shall have the power to impose upon that Promoted Club, upon being accepted as a member of The League in accordance with Regulations 7.8 and 10.1, a deduction of 12 points scored or to be scored in the League Competition. In exercising this power the Board shall have regard to all the circumstances of the case and the matters set out in Regulation 12.3.2. Where the Board imposes a deduction in accordance with this Regulation, the Promoted Club shall suffer a deduction of 12 points in the League Competition in respect of that Club’s first Season in The League such that the Club starts the Season in League Two on minus 12 points. 12.3.8 For the purpose of this Regulation 12.3:

(a) where an Insolvency Event is taken or suffered other than on a Business Day (as defined by the Insolvency Rules 1986 as amended from time to time) then for the purposes of determining the timing of any points deduction only the Insolvency Event will be deemed to have occurred on the immediately preceding Business Day; and

(b) if a Company Voluntary Arrangement is approved, then approval of that Company Voluntary Arrangement shall be deemed to have been given at the date of the first meeting of creditors called to consider that Company Voluntary Arrangement, and not the date of any adjourned meeting of creditors or the meeting of shareholders.

12.3.9 The League shall serve the Club with written notice of the points deduction (the ‘Notice’). Article 50 shall apply as to the timing of receipt of such Notice.

12.3.10 A Club may appeal:

(a) against a decision of the Board to impose a points deduction arising from an Insolvency Event of a Group Undertaking under Regulation 12.3.2; and/or

(b) against an automatic deduction of points imposed where a Club, Premier League club or National League Club suffers an Insolvency Event under Regulations 12.3.1, 12.3.6 or 12.3.7 respectively,

but only on the ground that the relevant Insolvency Event(s) arose solely as a result of a Force Majeure event (‘Sporting Sanctions Appeal’). 12.3.11 For the purposes of this Regulation 12.3, a ‘Force Majeure’ event shall be an event that, having regard to all of the circumstances, was caused by and resulted directly from circumstances, other than normal business risks, over which the Club and/or Group Undertaking (as the case may be) could not reasonably be expected to have control and its Officials had used all due diligence to avoid the happening of that event.

12.3.12 Any Sporting Sanctions Appeal must be in writing and be received by The League at its registered office no later than 7 days after The League serves the Notice. The Sporting Sanctions Appeal must contain a statement setting out the grounds of appeal and provide copies of any documentation upon which the Club intends to rely in support of the Sporting Sanctions Appeal.

12.3.13 The Club must also lodge with The League, at the same time as the Sporting Sanctions Appeal, a deposit of £5,000 in respect of the costs of the Sporting Sanctions Appeal.

12.3.14 Upon receipt of the Sporting Sanctions Appeal The League shall refer the matter to the League Arbitration Panel in accordance with the provisions of Section 9 of these Regulations, supplemented by the provisions of this Regulation 12.3, and in the event of any conflict between Section 9 and this Regulation, this Regulation shall prevail.

12.3.15 The League shall, immediately upon receipt of the Sporting Sanctions Appeal, instruct a firm of independent accountants to carry out a review of the activities of the Club and/or any Group Undertaking for the purposes of preparing an independent report into the circumstances surrounding and leading up to the relevant Insolvency Event(s). The Club shall meet the costs of preparation of that report in any event. The report shall be provided to the Club, the League Arbitration Panel and The League. The League Arbitration Panel shall take into account the contents of that report when determining whether the insolvency proceedings arose solely as a result of a Force Majeure event.

12.3.16 The League Arbitration Panel shall hear any Sporting Sanctions Appeal within 21 days of the lodgement of the Sporting Sanctions Appeal.

12.3.17 The Club shall bear the burden of proof in relation to the matters set out in the Sporting Sanctions Appeal on the balance of probabilities.

12.3.18 The League Arbitration Panel shall have the power to:

(a) confirm the deduction of 12 points; or

(b) set aside the deduction of 12 points and substitute a deduction of such lower number of points as it shall deem appropriate; or

(c) order that there shall be no sanction at all.

12.3.19 Any costs incurred by any party in proceedings brought before the League Arbitration Panel shall be met by the Club in any event and shall be considered as a sum due to The League for the purposes of Article 48.