TONY PULIS shares Steve Gibson’s concerns about potential financial rule-breaking in the Championship, and has urged the Football League to ensure their Financial Fair Play regulations are being stringently enforced.

Gibson is set to raise the issue of Financial Fair Play at the EFL’s next stakeholder meeting, and is understood to be pressing the authorities to launch an investigation into the conduct of Derby County, Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday.

The Middlesbrough chairman, who first raised the issue at a similar meeting in March, believes the three clubs are exploiting loopholes to bypass the EFL’s profit and sustainability rules, which were introduced in an attempt to prevent clubs getting themselves into financial difficulty by overspending.

Gibson is furious that Boro sold around £40m worth of players in the summer and severely restricted their spending in order to comply with the rules, only for a number of their rivals to find ways of getting around the regulations.

Pulis supported Gibson’s attempts to balance the books at Middlesbrough, even though it limited his ability to recruit players in each of the last two transfer windows, and agrees it is essential the EFL properly enforce their rules if they are not to be rendered completely meaningless.

“What Steve has done is cut his cloth according to the rules,” said Pulis. “The football club have cut their cloth according to the rules and worked within the rules of the EFL.

“If you are doing that, you expect everyone else to do it, and if they don’t, you expect them to be punished. If they are not punished, you want to know why, and I think that’s what Steve’s trying to find out.

“If they’ve set out a set of rules that clubs have to abide by financially, then if they find out a club is not doing it, there has to be some punishment. I think they’ve laid that down with what they did with Birmingham. Steve was desperate to make sure that what we did stayed within the rules because it’s what they all agreed to.”

Gibson’s complaints are believed to have exposed a series of fissures within the ranks of the Championship. He has received strong support from Bristol City owner Steve Lansdown, whose club have also worked diligently to adhere to the EFL regulations, but other chairmen are understood to have used previous meetings to press for a complete abandoning of the Financial Fair Play framework.

Earlier this month, Boro travelled to Bolton Wanderers and witnessed a club on its knees because of financial problems. The Trotters continue to battle against the possibility of administration or liquidation, and Pulis has a great deal of sympathy with their plight.

A large number of Championship clubs have experienced financial difficulties as they attempt to break into the Premier League, and Pulis feels the EFL should be doing everything they can to prevent their clubs living beyond their means.

“The thing is, everybody chases that pot of money that is the Premier League,” said the Boro boss. “Everybody goes after it, and let’s be fair, last year this football club did the same. But I think Steve has realised and recognised that there’s another way of doing it.

“You don’t have to do it that way. I think Stoke are probably looking at it and thinking exactly the same thing. You’ve got to prepare a base and a structure at a football club. If you’re in this league, the most important thing is to prepare a club to get promoted, but not just to get promoted, also to be stable and solid enough to be able to stay in the Premier League. If you’re jumping back and forward all the time, you never get a stable football club.”