Stevenage Football Club have been refused Standing by an Independent Arbitration Panel today...
The Club requested their views be heard under Rule 96.1 but the Panel Chairman, after deliberation, ruled that would not be allowed and so the Appeal case will be between the EFL and Macclesfield Town.
Chairman Phil Wallace said, "I have no issue with the Decision – the EFL remained neutral, as it should - and both ourselves and Macclesfield put our cases forward as to how Rule 96.1 should be interpreted. It is an interesting point of law as I don’t believe Rule 96.1 has been tested before, so it was new ground for everyone. As far as we are concerned, we would have preferred Standing to put our view to the Panel, but we are happy to rely on the EFL to fight the Appeal.
"The EFL appeal is primarily based on the strength of how the EFL Board and many other EFL members feel when one Club systematically doesn’t pay its players on time over a season – six times in this case - and yet suffers no consequences. Although it is very strange that the outcome of this Appeal will either relegate ourselves or Macclesfield, the EFL Appeal is about whether or not points deductions should be withheld or suspended if those points mean a Club suffers consequences from that deduction, be that missing promotion or the play-offs, or in this case, being relegated.
"We do not believe that the consequences of a points deduction should come into any decision about whether or not they are implemented. Panels should be consistent in their sanctions and allow the consequences of those sanctions to be what they are. Further, our view – and we believe the view of a majority of EFL clubs – is that if any club systematically breaches the Rules whilst other clubs abide by them, then sanctions for those breaches should increase, not decrease, the more the Rule is breached. This is not the case in the last Macclesfield case, where the Chairman deducted points but suspended them so that the consequence of that – relegation for Macclesfield – did not take place. If that is the way it is supposed to work then what is the point of a points deduction at all?
"For our part, we believe the change we made to the Management Team would have seen us overcome the three points we were behind Macclesfield, with a game in hand, in the 10 games we had left to play, but we accept that we are in this situation through our own making.
"We understand that the Appeal will take place in two weeks time and that both ourselves and Macclesfield will know which League we will be playing in next season, shortly thereafter. This long delay hasn’t been good for either ourselves or Macclesfield as neither of us can sign players for League Two if we are in the National League and vice versa. However, no matter what the outcome of the EFL Appeal is, we will start next season with a new Management Team, new players, new enthusiasm and a completely new approach to the way we do things at the training ground and on the pitch."