An award made by a Disciplinary Commission, appointed under EFL Regulations, has ruled that former Watford Football Club Chairman, Raffaele Riva, is to be suspended from participation in a Club as a ‘Relevant Person’ indefinitely, with Mr Riva being unable to seek a review of such suspension until at least 2 November 2026.
Mr Riva was charged with a breach of a number of EFL Regulations in June 2017 in relation to the provision by a bank of a funding letter as required as part of a change of control application in May 2014 when Mr Gino Pozzo became the sole owner of Watford Football Club. It was subsequently notified to the EFL by a third party, and established, that the letter was not authentic.
During the Disciplinary Commission hearing, Mr Riva admitted that he had breached EFL Regulations on the following basis:
- As Chairman of the Club, Mr Riva accepts that it was his responsibility to ensure that accurate information was provided in relation to the financial resources of Hornets Investment Limited in circumstances where he knew that the letter would be relied upon by the EFL to assess whether its Change of Control requirements had been met.
- Mr Riva recognises that his conduct has brought the EFL and the Club into disrepute.
- Mr Riva acknowledges that he failed in his duty to ensure that the information provided was accurate and accepts that the letter was submitted, with his knowledge and consent.
- Mr Riva accepts that his actions have had a serious impact on the integrity of the EFL and that they have caused embarrassment to the EFL and the Club, which Mr Riva very much regrets.
As a result of Mr Riva’s admissions, the Disciplinary Commission has suspended him from participation in a Club as a ‘Relevant Person’ as defined in the EFL Owners’ and Directors’ Test, indefinitely, with Mr Riva being unable to seek a review of such suspension until at least 2 November 2026.
In addition, Mr Riva has been ordered to pay a fine of £50,000 and a contribution of £65,000 towards the costs of the EFL and those of the Disciplinary Commission.
Also in June 2017, and under a separate Disciplinary Commission, Watford Football Club was charged with a breach of EFL Regulation 3.1 and 16.21 and subsequently fined £5.75 million, reduced to £3.95 million plus £350,000 costs.