The EFL says it is committed to resolving “a complex legal position” that is threatening Derby’s bid to find a buyer and exit administration.
Derby went into administration last September and have been docked 21 points for breaching EFL financial rules.
The Sky Bet Championship club’s administrators are understood to be in talks with three potential buyers, but have been unable to name a preferred bidder due to the threat of legal action against Derby by two other clubs.
Middlesbrough and Wycombe are seeking compensation for loss of earnings in relation to Derby’s financial breaches and potential new owners are reluctant to commit themselves to further liabilities.
The EFL said in a statement on its official website: “The current situation remains challenging as Middlesbrough and Wycombe Wanderers consider their claims should be protected under the terms of the Insolvency Policy. The administrators disagree.
“Further, as those claims are not yet determined the administrators and bidders have no clarity on the size of any (if any) liability. That has implications for exiting administration, and ultimately the club being able to retain its (Football League) membership status.”
The EFL said Derby consider the claims to be “spurious”, but the current bidders “appear unwilling to assume the risk of defending them”.
Middlesbrough and Wycombe are concerned their rights will be adversely affected if Derby can “extinguish or compromise the claims” using the insolvency process, the EFL said.
“The EFL is keen to try and resolve the current impasse. The EFL invited each of the administrators, Middlesbrough FC, and Wycombe Wanderers to make submissions on this point last week, and we are now in the process of reviewing those submissions with a view to identifying a route to resolve the conflict which exists between the respective positions of, on the one hand, Derby County, and on the other Middlesbrough and Wycombe Wanderers.
“To try and simplify what is a complex legal position is not simple or straightforward but we are committed to finding an appropriate solution and providing clarity on the issue as soon as possible.”
Last week, the EFL asked Derby’s administrators to provide updated financial details on how the club plans to fulfil their remaining fixtures this season and set an extended deadline of February 1.
“While potential funding options were tabled by the administrators, they could not give the necessary assurances that the funding was guaranteed to enable the club to finish the season,” the EFL added.
“As a consequence, the League made the decision that the club should not be permitted to register any new players until the necessary funding was in place. The deadline for provision of the funded plans was further extended to 1 February 2022.”
Former Newcastle owner Mike Ashley and a separate consortium headed by former Derby chairman Andy Appleby have been reported to be interested in buying the Rams.
Wayne Rooney’s side climbed off the foot of the table after beating Sheffield United on Saturday – they have dropped only two points in their last five matches – and are eight points from safety.
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