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Derby say EFL would be unlawful in imposing retrospective points deduction

Derby County File Photo
(Image credit: Bradley Collyer)

Derby have insisted that a points deduction which would see the club relegated from the Sky Bet Championship would not be “lawful” after being fined £100,000.

The Rams were handed the sanction and a warning over their future conduct by an independent disciplinary commission on Wednesday night as a result of accounting regularities.

However, the EFL announced an “interchangeable fixture list” for both Derby and Wycombe, the club which finished just below them in the Championship and inside the relegation zone last season, on Thursday morning in the event that an appeal results in a points deduction which could see them swap places.

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Responding to the move, the Rams said in a statement on the club’s official website: “The club disputes that a points deduction at any time is appropriate, and disputes that it is lawful for the EFL to seek to impose one retrospectively, altering the final league placings after the season has already finished.

“The club looks forward to competing in the Championship in the 2021/22 season. It shall not comment further until after publication of the full written reasons of the disciplinary commission.”

The original charge was lodged almost 18 months ago, when Derby were cleared of breaching the EFL’s financial rules, although the league won its appeal against that decision earlier this year.

The disciplinary commission ruled that the club’s accounts for the years ended June 30, 2016, June 30, 2017 and June 30, 2018 did not comply with the Championship’s profitability and sustainability rules.

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Derby’s statement read: “Although the disciplinary commission has yet to publish its full written reasons for its decision, the EFL issued a press release about it and the fixture list last night.

“The club is disappointed that the EFL has not, as is usual, waited until after the publication of the disciplinary commission’s reasons nor agreed a statement with the club and in addition has chosen to be selective about the decision and present it in a form which omit key dates and details, which the club has provided by way of clarity above.

“The EFL had sought a points deduction against the club to be imposed in the 2020/21 season which finished in May 2021. No points deduction has been imposed by the disciplinary commission.”

Derby, managed by former England captain Wayne Rooney, secured their second tier status on the final day of the season after a dramatic 3-3 draw with Sheffield Wednesday – who were relegated as a result having themselves been deducted six points for breaking spending rules – courtesy of Martyn Waghorn’s late penalty.

Derby manager Wayne Rooney (left) celebrates the club's Sky Bet Championship survival with Colin Kazim-Richards (13) after a final-day draw with Sheffield Wednesday

Derby manager Wayne Rooney (left) celebrates the club’s Sky Bet Championship survival with Colin Kazim-Richards (13) after a final-day draw with Sheffield Wednesday (Nigel French/PA)

When the fixtures were announced on Thursday, County’s club website stated: “Please note that these fixtures are subject to change and at this stage the fixture list is regarded as a DRAFT.”

Wycombe, who finished third from bottom of last season’s Sky Bet Championship, also stated on their website that the EFL had developed another fixture list.