Further to our previous communication issued on Monday 2nd April, the EFL has now completed its review of Accrington Stanley’s response to the EFL’s request for observations in respect of EFL Regulation 61.6.
The stipulated Regulation requires clubs to fully detail any payments and benefits provided, whether in cash or in kind, directly or indirectly, to players in the Standard Player Contract.
The club was contacted as a result of a public comment made by Accrington Stanley’s Chairman Mr Holt in which he discussed providing his squad with a cash amount to spend on food or drink in the event of the team winning or drawing a match.
Had Mr Holt’s comment specified that the payment was made irrespective of the result, then there would have been no requirement to question the action, as it is acknowledged that subsistence is required for players after matches.
The EFL noted that there was no provision for results-based payments within the club’s bonus schedule. This schedule forms part of the contract and has to be submitted prior to the commencement of each season, including all amounts payable no matter how these bonuses manifest themselves or how large or small the monetary value.
This requirement is intended to ensure transparency in respect of all such payments and underpins a number of important aspects of the EFL’s Regulations including inducements and salary cost controls.
In the interests of fairness of competition and the integrity of the League, the EFL monitors clubs’ compliance with various aspects of the Regulations and will request observations on any number of different matters during each season. Having written to Accrington Stanley on 21st March 2018 to request written explanations on the matter, the club was given seven days to respond.
The EFL would not normally comment on correspondence such as this, regarding it as private and confidential, but as a result of the matter being made public by Mr Holt, it was felt necessary to fully explain why the appropriate action was being taken.
The club’s response has confirmed that no contractual provisions exist to support the payment of amounts in this manner.
However, EFL Regulations do not prohibit the provision of subsistence and as long as the club adopts a consistent approach for all matches, and arrangements are not linked to success on the pitch, the club can continue to make appropriate provision.
The EFL has reminded the club of its responsibilities in relation to meeting EFL Regulations. It is a matter for the club to ensure it complies with all appropriate HMRC guidance regarding such matters.