EFL imposes suspended points deduction on Rochdale following failed takeover

An independent disciplinary committee has sanctioned Rochdale FC following a probe into the acquisition of shares in the club in July last year.

The punishment of a six points deduction is suspended for two years.

The League Two club said it accepts the conclusion of the inquiry and will not appeal.

The commission imposed the punishment after failure to comply with EFL regulations following the acquisition of shares in the club by Morton House in July 2021.

In addition, Andrew Curran, Darrell Rose, David Bottomley and Faical Safouane will be banned from operating as a relevant person, the English Football League (EFL) announced today (October 17). All received a two-year sanction with the exception of Safouane, who has been handed an 18-month ban.

In March 2022, following a comprehensive investigation, the EFL charged the club and the above-named individuals with alleged breaches of EFL regulations relating to the Owners and Directors Test (OADT), which require any relevant person(s) to comply with provisions relating to purchase of shares.

All parties, who are also required to meet the commission’s costs, pleaded guilty to the charges at a hearing in September 2022 and have 14 days to appeal.

EFL CEO, Trevor Birch, said: “The updated Owners’ and Directors’ Test is a crucial element of the EFL’s regulatory responsibilities in the interests of all its member clubs, their supporters and everyone else involved or interested in football.

“The breaches in this case were serious as they deprived the EFL of the ability to carry out the necessary investigations into the identity of the proposed new owners, their proposed business plans, and the ultimate source and sufficiency of funding necessary to support those plans.

“These sanctions serve as an appropriate reminder to clubs, their officials and potential owners that disregarding those requirements can lead to significant consequences as this case has proved.”

A proposed takeover of Rochdale collapsed last August, following the launch of the EFL’s investigation.

A statement by Rochdale FC said: “The club would once again like to reiterate that no current board director or current employee were subject to any EFL charges.”

The club added that it fully co-operated with the EFL at every stage of the investigation and provided the EFL with a considerable volume of their evidence.

Simon Gauge, Rochdale AFC chairman, said: “We are pleased the regulator has acted fully and decisively against the role of the club and four individuals to send a strong message throughout football.

“We hope the EFL continue to prevent individuals that do not meet the EFL threshold for an OADT and who are unable to prove the source and sufficiency of their funding, like Morton House, away from the game we all love.

“As chairman I have recruited a new larger board of committed people with different skills and experiences and comprising a mixture of eight serving directors, including supporters trust representation and three non-executive directors to ensure the governance model of the club is secure and on the right footing.”

He added: “We are pleased that the investigation has reached its conclusion and we now look forward to focusing our efforts on working towards our short, medium and long term aims for the benefit of Our Town, Our Team, Our Club.”

Rochdale currently sits two places and two points above the League Two relegation zone.