Derby County defend £80m Pride Park as EFL initiate independent valuation of stadium
By Rob Dorsett & Lyall Thomas
Last Updated: 05/09/19 3:45pm
Derby County have defended their £80m valuation of Pride Park in the wake of an independent investigation initiated by the English Football League.
The EFL has commissioned valuations of the Rams' home ground as well as Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough and Reading's Madejski Stadium as part of the Profitability and Sustainability (P&S) process.
Derby have told Sky Sports News they conducted their own independent commercial valuation of Pride Park before selling it to another of owner Mel Morris's companies - a move that has been met with criticism from other Championship clubs.
And Sky Sports News has been told that a number of other second-tier sides have expressed concerns that Pride Park was overvalued in the sale, allowing Derby to spend more on their playing squad without breaching the EFL rules.
Championship clubs are currently reviewing the P&S process, which is drawing to a close for the previous financial year, and are discussing whether there should be any rule changes, after concerns were raised over Derby and other clubs selling their stadiums to third-party companies and leasing them back.
Middlesbrough have started legal action against Derby over the issue and Boro chairman Steve Gibson has complained to the EFL, saying he feels the sale and lease-back system contravenes the League's rules on P&S - but his proposal to change the rule earlier this year was voted down by the other clubs.
Separate accusations have been levelled at Derby that, if the stadium is indeed worth £80m, the football club is being under-charged in rent.
But Derby are adamant that the rent reflects the amount of use the football club gets from the stadium, which amounts to an average of 30 full days each year when they host their home matches.
Derby also remain adamant that they have not broken any financial rules.
The Midlands club have also told Sky Sports News they believe the cost of that independent review into their stadium and others will be a six-figure sum and something all 24 Championship clubs will be expected to share, which has also been met with concern from at least one other Championship club.