The curse of the Championship continues with both Derby County and Reading this week handed point deductions due to financial irregularities – bringing the number of second tier teams penalised up to five in just three seasons.
For Derby, it was confirmed over the weekend that they would be entering administration to help them deal with their ongoing debts – that brings with it an automatic 12-point deduction as per EFL rules.
However, that could be just the tip of the iceberg for the Rams, with alleged issues in their accounting leading to the possibility of a further nine point penalty.
And, as if that wasn’t enough, a final three point deduction could be metered out if they fail to pay their players and coaching staff by the end of September.
Current Derby owner Mel Morris is desperately looking for a buyer to take over the club, with a proposed deal with American outfit MSD Holdings said to have stalled.
A 12-point deduction would hamper the Rams’ attempts to avoid relegation to the Championship, but a 24-point loss would surely be curtains to any hope they have of staving off demotion.
Meanwhile, down the M1, Reading are facing up to a punishment of their own after breaching financial rules.
The Telegraph’s John Percy broke the news via his Twitter feed, and the likely result is that the Royals will be deducted nine points for their breaches.
#ReadingFC set for heavy deduction of up to 9 points after breaching financial rules. Like Derby, Reading are in talks with the EFL over an “agreed decision” as per regulation 85. https://t.co/uIf7ndlJbD
— John Percy (@JPercyTelegraph) September 21, 2021
Reading, and Derby for that matter, have taken ten points from their opening eight games, and so while the standard nine-point deduction would seem them plunged into the relegation zone, they would only be a few wins away from righting their situation in the league table.
The Rams and the Royals join the Championship’s hall of shame when it comes to financial mis-management.
Birmingham City got the ball rolling in the 2018/19 campaign, when a catalogue of financial breaches in prior seasons finally caught up with them. The Blues were deducted nine points for their ‘profitability and sustainability’ flaws, which saw them lose more than the mandated £13 million maximum per term over a three-year period – Birmingham exceeded this by some £9.8 million.
Happily for the Midlanders, they had already secured enough points to stave off relegation when the punishment was enacted in March 2019.
Then along came Wigan Athletic, who not long prior to their 2019/20 doldrums had won the FA Cup and played in Europe. But they fell into administration in July 2020, and with the extended season still ongoing at the time the EFL had no choice but to impose the standard nine-point deduction. That was enough to see the Latics relegated to the third tier.
Finally, Sheffield Wednesday added themselves to the rogue’s gallery in 2020/21. It’s hard not to have some sympathy for the Owls, however, who were deducted 12 points for irregularities in their sale of their Hillsborough home. That was later reduced to six points on appeal, however the points were not added on to their tally until it was too late, and Wednesday were relegated to League One as a result.