LONDON: Wayne Rooney’s Derby County face a points deduction from the Football League after applying to enter administration.
The Sky Bet Championship club issued a statement which claimed the club’s directors “had no choice but to make the tough decision” to file notice to appoint administrators.
The Rams, managed by former Manchester United and England star Rooney, are awaiting sanctions from the Football League, who are expected to impose a mandatory points deduction on the East Midlands outfit.
The PA news agency understands that the 12-point penalty for going into administration is mandatory, and will be applied once the club has officially entered administration, which the EFL has since confirmed.
However, the club could conceivably appeal citing extenuating circumstances, given their insistence that their plight has been a direct result of the unprecedented Covid climate.
The Rams sit 16th in the Championship table with seven points after one win and four draws from their opening seven games but a 12-point deduction would drop them to bottom spot on -5pts, 10 points from safety even at this early stage of the season.
Some bookmakers have responded to the news by slashing Derby’s relegation odds to as short as 1/2 – although many firms are still not offering a price, given the uncertainty of the situation.
Derby said the move was due to “a number of developments”, including a failure to identify new owners and the continuing impact of Covid-19 on revenue streams.
The club statement said: “Last week, it became clear that the process which has been underway to identify a purchaser for the club likely would not be productive over the near term, despite the number of negotiations with credible parties.
“Because the Covid-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on the revenues and profits of all of its businesses, the club has been unable to service its day-to-day financial obligations. The directors had no choice but to make the tough decision to take this action and protect the club.”
The statement continued: “The irony is that the club’s financial forecasts show the emergence of a financially sustainable picture. Absent the COVID-19 pandemic, we undoubtedly would have been able to trade through.
“However, the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and the unpredictability it has created represents too much of a strain. As the COVID-19 pandemic and lock down tightened their grip, the club’s revenues and cash flow took a circa £20 million hit.”
The development is the latest setback for the Rams, who remain subject to a transfer embargo after breaking the EFL’s financial rules.
A fifth regulation that Derby have failed to comply with – default in paying transfer fee instalments – was added to the current list on the EFL website’s embargo reporting service two weeks ago.
Derby escaped relegation from the Championship on the final day of last season after drawing 3-3 at Pride Park against Sheffield Wednesday.
The club then avoided a points deduction, which would have sent them down, when the EFL decided not to appeal against a decision to only fine the club for failing to comply with finance rules.