14. INSOLVENCY PROVISIONS
14.A. SPORTING SANCTIONS
14.A.1 If an Insolvency Event shall occur in relation to any Club that Club shall be deducted 10 points. The deduction shall be made forthwith on the happening of the first Insolvency Event.
14.A.2 Where a Club takes or suffers an Insolvency Event:-
14.A.2.1 during the Playing Season but prior to 5:00 p.m. on the fourth Thursday in March, the points deduction shall apply immediately;
14.A.2.2 during the Playing Season but after 5:00 p.m. on the fourth Thursday in March then Rule 14.3 shall apply; and
14.A.2.3 outside the Normal Playing Season, the points deduction shall apply in respect of the following Season such that the Club starts that Season on minus 10 points (including a Club or Clubs Relegated from the [ ] League, where such Club shall be subject to Rule 14 of the [ ] League Rules). or where it has been necessary under the National League System Regulations for a Club or Clubs to be moved from one league to another and such Club would have been subject to Rule 14.
14.A.3 Where the circumstances set out in Rule 14.2.2 apply and at the end of that Playing Season, having regard to the number of Competition points awarded (ignoring any potential deduction):-
a) the Club would be relegated in accordance with The [ ] League Rules, the points deduction will apply in the next following Season; or
b) the Club would not be relegated as aforesaid, the points deduction will apply in that Playing Season and [ ] League Rules will then apply (if appropriate) following the imposition of the points deduction.
14.A.4 For the purposes of this Rule 14
a) where any Insolvency Event is taken or suffered other than on a Business Day (as defined by the Insolvency Rules 1986 as amended from time to time) then for the purposes of determining the timing of any points deduction only the action taken or suffered will be deemed to have been taken or suffered on the immediately preceding Business Day; and
b) if a Company Voluntary Arrangement is approved, then approval of that Company Voluntary Arrangement shall be deemed to have been given at the date of the first meeting of creditors called to consider that Company Voluntary Arrangement, and not the date of any adjourned meeting of the creditors or the meeting of shareholders.
14.A.5 For the avoidance of doubt, where a Club is subject to more than one Insolvency Event (for example Administration followed by a Company Voluntary Arrangement), the Club shall only be deducted one set of 10 points, such deduction to apply with effect from the first Insolvency Event.
14.A.6 The Competition shall serve the Club with written notice of the points deduction (the ‘Notice’).
14.A.7 A Club may only appeal against an automatic deduction of points on the ground that the insolvency proceedings arose solely as a result of a Force Majeure event (the ‘Appeal’). For the purposes of this Rule 14, a ‘Force Majeure’ event shall be an event that, having regard to all of the circumstances, is reasonably considered to have been unforeseeable and unavoidable.
14.A.8 Any Appeal must be in writing and be received by the Competition at its registered office no later than 7 days after the Competition serves the Notice. The Appeal must contain a statement setting out the grounds of appeal and provide copies of any documentation upon which the Club intends to rely in support of the Appeal.
14.A.9 The Club must also lodge with the Competition, at the same time as the Appeal, a deposit fee in respect of the costs of the Appeal.
14.A.10 Upon receipt of the Appeal the Competition Secretary shall refer the matter to an SSAP by delivering to the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (or such other body as the Board may from time to time determine) five copies of the appeal documents together with a request for the appointment of Arbitrators as set out in 14.9 hereof.
14.A.11 The SSAP shall consist of three Arbitrators, one of whom must be a barrister (or solicitor) of at least 5 years call who will act as Chairman of the SSAP, each to be appointed by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (or such other body as the Board may from time to time determine) as provided above.
14.A.12 The Competition shall, immediately upon receipt of the Appeal, instruct a firm of independent accountants to carry out a review of the Club’s activities for the purposes of preparing an independent report into the circumstances surrounding and leading up to the entering into insolvency proceedings. The Club shall meet the costs of preparation of that report in any event. The report shall be provided to the Club, the SSAP and the Competition. The SSAP shall take into account the contents of that report when determining whether the insolvency proceedings arose solely as a result of a Force Majeure event.
14.A.13 Both the Club and the Competition shall be entitled to make representations to the SSAP. The SSAP shall use all reasonable endeavours to hear any appeal within 21 days of the lodgement of the Appeal.
14.A.14 The SSAP shall have the power to:-
14.A.14.1 Confirm the deduction of ten points; or
14.A.14.2 Set aside the deduction of ten points and substitute a deduction
of such lower number of points as it shall deem appropriate; or
14.A.14.3 Order that there shall be no sanction at all.
14.A.15 The decision of the SSAP shall be final and binding. Any costs incurred by any party in appeal proceedings brought before the SSAP shall be met by the Club in any event and shall be considered as a sum due to the Company.
14.A.16 Any sanctions imposed pursuant to these provisions shall not be taken into account in respect of any other sanctions, penalties or fines that may be imposed by the Competition in respect of any breaches of its Rules, Regulations or Articles of Association by the Club.
14.B. GENERAL INSOLVENCY
14.B.1 In the event of a Club entering an Insolvency Event between the end of the AGM and start of the AGM immediately following thereafter (‘the next AGM’) then it shall automatically be relegated by one Step at the next AGM, unless one of the following requirements has been met, namely
(i) Prior to the next AGM it has Paid in Full all its creditors (including but not limited to Football Creditors); or
(ii) Prior to the next AGM it has Paid in Full its Football Creditors and entered a CVA to have Paid in Full its other creditors over an agreed period not extending more than three years following the date of the approval of the CVA.
This sanction shall apply in addition to any Club being relegated pursuant to its playing record in the same period namely that in the event of the Club having already been relegated by one Step it shall be relegated two Steps.
This provision is subject to Rule 2.9.1 in respect of Clubs which have transferred their membership pursuant to an Insolvency Event and in that case where there is any conflict between any provision of Clause 14 and 2.9.1 then this Clause 14 shall prevail.
New 14.B.2 to insert as follows:
A Club shall not be eligible for promotion or to compete in the Play Offs at the end of a Playing Season if at 5pm on the date on which the last scheduled League fixture is due to be played that Club:
(i) has entered an Insolvency Event between the date of the AGM and 5pm on the date on which the last scheduled League fixture is played and has not Paid in Full all its creditors to which the Insolvency Event applies (including but not limited to Football Creditors ) or Paid in Full all its Football Creditors and entered a CVA to have Paid in Full all other creditors over an agreed period not extending more than three years following the date of approval of the CVA: or
(ii) has not complied with the terms of a CVA by which it is bound or is to seek to extend the period of the CVA.
14.B.3 The sanctions contained herein shall be in addition to and not in substitution for any other sanctions contained within the Rules and, in particular, the sanctions set out in rule 14.A. For the avoidance of doubt, where a Club is subject to more than one connected Insolvency Event, for example Administration followed by a Company Voluntary Arrangement, any sanction applied to it in accordance with Rule 14.B.1 shall be applied in one Playing Season only except as provided for in Rule 14.B.1
Clubs Relegated from the Football League
14.B.4 In the event of any Club entering the Competition from the Football League whilst subject to any Insolvency Event, then that Club shall be eligible for membership of the Competition and the provisions of Clause 14.B.1 will not apply to it until the date of the second AGM following its entry into the Competition.
Compliance With/Extension of CVA’s
14.B.5 Any Club must inform the Competition in writing within seven (7) days of it becoming aware of it failing to comply with the terms of any CVA entered into by it or making an application to extend the terms of the CVA entered into by it.
In the event of any Club
-failing to comply with the terms of any CVA entered into by it (whether securing Payment in Full of all of its creditors or not); and/or
-making a successful application to extend the period of any CVA for a period extending more than three years following the date of the approval of the CVA; and/or
-failing to inform the Competition of one or both of the above events in writing within seven (7) days as required under this Rule 14.B.5
then the Board shall have the power to impose such sanction as it deems appropriate, including, but without limitation, the expulsion of that Club, the relegation of that Club, the deduction of points and the embargo of player registrations.
14.B.6 Where a Club has transferred its membership under Rule 2.9.2. the provisions of Rule 14.B in relation to a CVA shall be applied to the former entity that was subject to the Insolvency Event and/or the new entity.