Middlesbrough say Derby administrators have ‘refused to engage’ over legal claim

Middlesbrough v Reading – Sky Bet Championship – Riverside Stadium
(Image credit: Richard Sellers)

Middlesbrough say Derby’s administrators have “consistently refused to engage” with them over a legal claim.

The Teesside club, along with Wycombe, are seeking compensation from the crisis-hit Rams, who were placed in administration last September.

The financial situation at Derby is becoming increasingly perilous, with the English Football League (EFL) granting administrators an extension to March 1 to provide proof of funding for the rest of the season.

On Thursday the EFL urged all parties involved, including Boro and Wycombe, to engage in urgent mediation to resolve the impasse.

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Boro welcomed that invitation, and the EFL saying on Wednesday that it disagreed with the administrators’ analysis that, under insolvency legislation, the club could avoid defending Middlesbrough and Wycombe’s claims and that they should not be treated as football-related debts.

Middlesbrough accused the administrators of making “scurrilous and unfounded suggestions” that their claim, and Wycombe’s, was preventing the club being sold when they believe the administrators have also failed to reach agreement with major creditors HMRC and MSD Partners.

“MFC has always maintained that its claim against Derby County is a football-related debt and that it should be treated as such,” the club statement read.

“MFC welcomes the EFL’s confirmation that it shares this view. If the administrators believe that the EFL are not entitled to take this stance, MFC has offered to refer the matter to a judge to decide.

“The administrators were appointed in September but have consistently refused to engage with MFC’s attempts to engage with them to reach a resolution.

Derby County

Derby were placed in administration last September (Bradley Collyer/PA).

“There are several letters from us which the administrators have ignored. MFC is extremely disappointed that this administration has not been concluded successfully and that the administrators have, instead, through the media, continuously sought to make scurrilous and unfounded suggestions that it is the claims of our club and Wycombe, and the EFL, that are preventing a successful outcome.

“It is not true and these statements are deeply unfair, not only to our club, but also to the Derby County supporters who deserve better.”

Derby’s administrators declined to comment on the claims when contacted by the PA news agency

The Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, said on Friday that the extra time granted to provide proof of funding must be treated as a “vital lifeline” to secure the Rams’ long-term future.

Pauline Latham, the Conservative MP for Mid-Derbyshire, asked for a statement from the Government next week to update on progress, and how fan interests are being represented in the negotiations.

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Rees-Mogg said: “The Minister for Sport (Nigel Huddleston) and officials of DCMS are in regular contact with the English Football League and administrators about the club’s future.

“Ultimately, it is for the EFL and the administrators and the clubs to resolve issues to ensure the survival of Derby County Football Club, but the Government has urged pragmatism from all parties to find a solution.

“It is positive that the EFL has granted a four-week extension to Derby County. This is a vital lifeline for the survival of the club and the opportunity must be utilised to ensure a suitable outcome is reached with the interest of Derby County’s fans in mind.”

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