The EFL are facing calls from clubs to remove Derby chief executive Stephen Pearce from their board due to potential conflicts of interest in their disciplinary process.
Pearce is one of three Championship representatives on the nine-strong EFL Board, who have charged Derby with misconduct over the sale of Pride Park and are now under pressure to open another investigation into the club regarding a £30million loan from MSD Holdings, as revealed by Sportsmail yesterday.
A number of executives at other clubs are understood to have lobbied the EFL that Pearce’s presence on the board is untenable in such circumstances as his role is to uphold rules his club are alleged to have broken and they are considering whether to begin a formal process to engineer his removal.
‘It’s not personal but this is poor governance,’ one executive told Sportsmail. ‘Stephen is a very nice guy and able administrator but even he must acknowledge the conflict of interest issue, even if it’s just perception.’
The presence of Reading chief executive Nigel Howe on the board has also been questioned as they have also been the subject of an EFL investigation into the sale of their stadium, although they have yet to be charged.
The calls for another investigation into Derby’s finances follow Sportsmail’s revelation earlier this summer that they have borrowed around £30m from MSD, which other clubs claim is a breach of EFL regulation 105 as the American private equity firm have previously lent money to Sunderland.
There is also a feeling at some clubs that the loan is against the spirit of the rules even if it is ultimately signed off by the EFL board.
This belief stems from the fact that the loan has been secured against an asset they do not own in Pride Park, which was sold last year to a company controlled by Derby owner Mel Morris, which led to the initial EFL charge.