Town's Championship rivals Derby are still planning on playing in the second tier despite threat of a points deduction

County fined £100,000 by independent disciplinary commission

By Mike Simmonds
Thursday, 24th June 2021, 11:45 am
Updated Thursday, 24th June 2021, 11:46 am
Action from the Hatters' trip to Pride Park last season

Derby County are still planning on competing in the Championship this season despite the threat of relegation to League One remaining a possibility.

The Rams, who stayed up on the final day last term by drawing 3-3 against Sheffield Wednesday to send the Hillsborough club down along with Rotherham United and Wycombe Wanderers, have been fined £100,000 by an independent disciplinary commission for accounting irregularities.

They were not given a points deduction though, unlike the Owls were last campaign, with the six points they eventually lost proving the difference as they finished bottom of the table.

However, a retrospective points deduction could still be be meted out to Wayne Rooney's side should the EFL successfully appeal the decision, meaning an 'interchangeable' fixture list for the 2021-22 campaign was published this morning, featuring the Pride Park club and Wycombe in the Championship and League One, with the Chairboys returning to the second tier if Derby go down.

The Rams were originally charged in January 2020 over allegedly breaching financial rules, while last August an independent disciplinary commission cleared the Rams of any wrongdoing but the EFL pressed forward with an appeal over a second charge, specific to the club's player amortisation policy, and how much they valued their squad financially.

An independent league arbitration panel overturned the original decision last month, concluding the Rams had failed to meet standards on player amortisation, as a statement from the EFL said: "In May, an Independent League Arbitration Panel ruled that the Disciplinary Commission was wrong to dismiss the League’s expert accountancy evidence, which demonstrated that the Club’s policy regarding the amortisation of player registrations was contrary to standard accounting rules.

"More specifically, the panel determined that the Club’s policy was not in accordance with accounting standard FRS102 because it failed to accurately reflect the manner in which the Club takes the benefit of player registrations over the lifetime of a player’s contract.

"Tonight, the Disciplinary Commission has announced that the sanction to be imposed in respect of those breaches, is a financial penalty of £100,000 to be paid to the EFL and a reprimand for the Club as to its future conduct regarding the preparation of its Annual Accounts.

"In addition, the Club has also been ordered to file restated accounts for financial years ending 30 June 2016, 2017 and 2018 that meet the requirements of FRS102, together with updated Profit & Sustainability calculations if necessary."

However, Derby, who can also still appeal the decision themselves, have hit back at the ruling, and say they are still planning on playing in the second tier, as they host Luton on Tuesday, October 19 and visit Kenilworth Road on Saturday, February 26.

A statement on the Rams official website said: "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.

"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.

"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."