EFL orders independent probe of Derby stadium deal – report

The English Football League (EFL) has reportedly ordered an independent valuation of Derby County’s Pride Park amid a possible breach of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations relating to the Championship club’s recent purchase of the stadium.

Derby purchased Pride Park in an effort to comply with FFP regulations but some rival clubs feel the move takes advantage of the rules.

According to The Times, the EFL has now commissioned property experts to determine a valuation of Pride Park. The newspaper, citing sources familiar with the matter, added that similar independent valuations have been commissioned for the home stadia of fellow Championship clubs Sheffield Wednesday and Reading.

The Times notes that Derby owner Mel Morris used a different company to buy Pride Park in a deal worth £80m (€89.1m/$98.6m) before signing an agreement to lease the ground back to the club. The stadium was reportedly only listed as an asset with a valuation of £41m in the club’s books.

Information of the deal was disclosed in the club’s accounts for the 2017-18 financial year, when Derby posted a profit of £14.6m to comply with FFP regulations.

Derby has insisted that it is fully compliant with FFP rules and has denied breaching any regulations.

The news comes after newly-promoted Premier League club Aston Villa recently came under scrutiny after it emerged that Villa Park had been sold to a subsidiary company controlled by owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens.