Championship clubs appoint lawyers in rebellion against EFL

Seven Championship clubs have appointed the law firm Slaughter and May in an attempt to challenge the validity of the £595m (€673m/$764m) deal the EFL signed with Sky Sports this week.

As reported by SportBusiness last week, several Championship clubs had threatened that they would attempt to form a breakaway league if the EFL signed the rights deal, which they felt severely undersold their value.

The EFL confirmed the deal anyway, with the backing of nine Championship clubs and all League One and League Two sides.

According to The Times, a working group of seven clubs – Aston Villa, Derby, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Nottingham Forest, Preston and Stoke – have now sought legal advice and are reportedly considering suing the EFL board, on the grounds that the final details of the contract were not shared with the clubs before it was signed. The seven have called a meeting of all 24 Championship clubs, set to take place next week, to discuss their options.

Tensions are likely to continue to grow between the Championship’s big clubs, who eye the riches of their Premier League rivals enviously, and the EFL, which has a responsibility over 72 league clubs and is attempting to balance the commercial demands of the bigger teams with the survival of its smaller members further down the league structure.