At its 2017 Summer Conference, the EFL has given its Clubs an update on a variety of important issues as well as requesting an indicative position on a number of preliminary proposals.
The following areas were discussed:
Owners and Directors Test
Having committed to consider the relationship between Club owners and supporters in light of a number of issues raised throughout the 2016/17 season, the EFL has agreed to consult with Clubs during the 2017/18 campaign to have a detailed look at the current provisions in the regulations and whether they remain appropriate both prior to a purchase and once an owner is in control. Member Clubs will be allowed the opportunity to consider if any additional measures should be put in place.
In addition, Clubs voted through a number of amendments to the current Owners' and Directors' Test regulations at the AGM that:
- Ensure that any applicant under the Test becomes bound by the Regulations upon completion of a declaration;
- Clarify that provision of false information in a declaration can of itself constitute a Disqualifying Condition under the Test;
- Extend the Disqualifying Condition concerning the commission of a criminal offence within this country to anyone who has engaged in similar conduct overseas, whether or not it has resulted in a conviction.
In view of the increased number of pitch incursions during the past season, the EFL has committed to working with Clubs and their safety teams to determine what practical measures can be put in place in 2017/18 to keep supporters off the playing area. The legitimate right of protest was acknowledged, but not on the field of play, which should be the domain of the players.
Full Strength Teams
The circumstances faced by the EFL at the end of the season in relation to the requirement for members to play full strength sides in League matches were considered. The EFL is working up a policy to determine what constitutes a full strength team to remove any further potential reputational damage to the EFL and its competitions.
A significant number of Clubs supported preliminary proposals that would require managers to include a yet to be defined number of outfield players who featured on the team sheet in the previous game.
This requirement would take effect from the fourth Thursday in March to the conclusion of the season and discussions also included a provision that any Club could make a claim for exceptional circumstances and any charge of non-compliance would be referred to a Football Disciplinary Commission (FDC). The EFL was tasked with formulating a formal proposal for Clubs to consider in September.
The EFL committed to a review of its approach to minimum stadium criteria during 2017/18 to ensure the provisions in place are current and still appropriate. The areas under consideration will include ground share (in relation to the protection of playing surfaces) arrangements, artificial pitches, safe standing, accessibility and broadcast facilities. The views of Clubs will be sought throughout the process.
Laws of the Game
The member Clubs were also asked for a view on whether or not there is an appetite to use up to five substitutes in a match. Following the recent International Football Association Board (IFAB) AGM, it was agreed that non top-tier tier competitions could have the flexibility to make modifications to organisational areas of the laws of the game for which they administer. In the EFL's case, this includes potentially increasing the number of substitutes used.
Clubs were asked to consider the matter further and a proposal will be taken forward to the next Club meeting in September.
Annual General Meeting
Finally, at the AGM a number of amendments to the EFL's Articles and Regulations were formally adopted in areas such as ticket pricing, kick-off times, loan transfers and player registrations. These changes will be implemented ahead of the 2017/18 season.
Clubs also ratified the re-appointment of Independent Director, Debbie Jevans for a further two seasons.