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EFL and Derby County issue an update with further admission made

The EFL and Derby County issue an update each this Thursday afternoon with a further admission made about the ongoing situation.

Derby County administrators have been told again by the EFL to clarify who the preferred bidder is and show proof of funds because “the club will run out of cash by February”.

The EFL seek answers on who their preferred bidder with a takeover over of the club still to be completed despite three offers being on the table.

Derby are battling to save their future amid debts and a compensation claim from Middlesbrough and Wycombe over FFP breaches.

Boro and Wycombe’s case against the Rams is delaying the progress of a sale of the club and the EFL say they now have “written to all parties” in order to find a solution via independent legal mediation.

Boro chairman Steve Gibson is willing to broker a peace deal to stave off the threat of Derby going into liquidation.


During the past 72 hours, the EFL has met with a number of integral stakeholders including MPs, Government officials, local authorities and the Rams Trust to discuss the ongoing and challenging situation relating to Derby County.

In all of these discussions, the League has maintained its position that is seeking to work proactively with all relevant parties to find appropriate and expeditious solutions that will ultimately see the Club out of Administration and thriving under new ownership.

However, the EFL is disappointed to note that whilst this dialogue has been taking place there has been, and continues to be, a large amount of misinformation circulating in the public domain which is inaccurate, misleading and a distraction to the immediate objective of understanding how the Club can be funded in order to complete the current season.

One such claim made in the past 24 hours is that the EFL has questions to answer regarding a supposed deal reached with Middlesbrough FC linked to Disciplinary action being taken against Derby County for alleged Profitability and Sustainability breaches. These accusations are wholly untrue, serving as an unwelcome diversion to current matters that need swift and decisive action by Derby’s Administrators.

This claim was in fact heard and dismissed by an Independent Disciplinary Commission, the judgment of which was published in August 2020. With original charges lodged in January 2020 Derby County’s ownership argued that the agreed stay of proceedings by Middlesbrough FC against the EFL was an ‘extraordinary bargain’ with the Club bringing forward a series of procedural defences, one of which that EFL charges against Derby County were an ‘Abuse of Process’. After carefully considering all the evidence the Independent Commission rejected all of these allegations and claims entirely (see para 161 onwards here).

The League is similarly concerned by recent claims that suggests a broader resolution to ongoing issues is solely dependent on the claims from Middlesbrough and Wycombe Wanderers being resolved, which are merely one part of a complex puzzle.

At present, the EFL is not in a position to make a determination as to the status of compensation claims by Middlesbrough and Wycombe under the terms of the EFL’s Articles of Association and/or Insolvency policy, as it could lead to additional action from those already interested parties and the wider membership of Clubs. The role of the EFL is to balance the interests of all 72 EFL Clubs and to make a unilateral decision either way could de-stabilise the competition and be viewed as reckless and unfair to all parties.

In an attempt to move this particular matter forward swiftly, the EFL has written to all parties with a proposed solution to negotiate a deal via independent legal mediation, alongside alternative options that would give clarity on the Football Creditors point quickly. The League is currently awaiting a response from all of those involved and it hopes to hear from all parties on the options proposed imminently.

Whilst clarity is also required as to the status of the claims from both Middlesbrough and Wycombe Wanderers, it is also critical that progress on two fronts urgently be made:

  1. Funding – The Administrator as a matter of urgency needs to clarify how it plans to fund Derby County for the remainder of the season. By the Administrator’s own forecasting, the Club will run out of cash by February, and therefore sourcing funds is of paramount importance to ensure they can compete for the rest of the season. This is not an artificial EFL deadline, but the reality of when we have been informed the money runs out.
  2. Preferred Bidder – The EFL needs urgent clarification from the Administrator as to who the preferred bidder is. Without this clarification, no tangible progress can be made into solving the challenges associated with the claims.

In addition, further to a meeting with MPs yesterday, the EFL has agreed to take part in any additional collective dialogue between Derby County, Middlesbrough, Wycombe Wanderers, the Administrators, local Derby MPs and other relevant stakeholders that is requested and will progress matters.

While ultimately the affairs of Derby County remain solely in the care of the Administrators, the EFL is currently doing everything within its powers and remit to help navigate a solution. The League is exasperated that this has still not been resolved and that we are approaching the end of the transfer window and Administrators have still not provided us any guarantee of funds which are required under the terms of the League’s Insolvency Policy.

As a founder Member of the Football League with a proud history, the Club is of huge importance to the East Midlands, our competition and the wider football family and we all hope it can flourish once again in the future as a sustainable member of the EFL.

However, any resolution achieved cannot ignore or sidestep EFL Regulations or UK law and any solution needs to be found that satisfies the competition regulations and the terms of the EFL’s Insolvency Policy that was set and agreed by all 72 members, including Derby County.

As previously articulated, this a complicated set of circumstances that requires consideration of the EFL’s broader role as the body that oversees 72 member Clubs and not just those Clubs that may be affected at any one time. Any decision taken by the League must be taken on behalf of the interests of all its membership – including Derby County, Middlesbrough, and Wycombe Wanderers – and to ensure the long-term integrity of the League as a collective.


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As we have seen from statements issued by others, sometimes these can be misinterpreted and prompt further questions. We are in receipt of a substantial number of messages from supporters, containing questions and supportive comments. We have prioritised our time to focus on the key matters at hand and expect this statement to go some way towards responding to the key questions arising from these messages.

We have set out below the key matters which we believe are relevant to ensuring the survival of Derby County Football Club. Whilst we have categorised those key matters, they are, in reality very closely linked. Whilst we have tried to be as clear and open as possible, there are matters, for reasons of confidentiality and sensitivity, which cannot be shared and we hope supporters and the media will understand the reasons for this.

1. Interested Parties

Whilst we have communicated previously, there has been a huge amount of interest from parties interested in acquiring the club. We have run a careful and diligent process and we are currently engaged in discussions with three of those parties, all of whom have the credibility to take the club on. Whilst we had hoped to have been able to announce formally our favoured bidder, this has not been possible to date as a result of the issues we will refer to later in this update. These discussions continue this week, and we remain hopeful that we will be able to announce the preferred bidder shortly. Due to the complex nature of these matters, we are unable today to commit to the specific date on which we will do this.We are, however, cognisant of the 1st February deadline as set by the EFL.

The key issues for the interested parties we are talking to are:

* The uncertainty around the claims from the two football league clubs and what impact that may have on the club going forward in the event these claims are not resolved during the administration.

* The uncertainty around the possibility of further sanctions from the EFL in the event the chosen bid does not deliver the financial compensation to pass the EFL rules around payment to both football creditors and other creditors.

Please note that the above issues have been subject to numerous discussions with both the EFL and others over the last few months and are extremely complex. They are also very sensitive, and we do not believe it to be helpful to discuss them in any detail in this update.

2. Claims from two Football League Clubs

These have been well documented both by us previously and more recently, by others making statements. We do not think it would be helpful, in view of the sensitivity of these matters, to elaborate on the discussions we have been having other than to confirm we are committed to dealing with these claims in the most expeditious manner. They are complex and are heavily disputed. Whilst the two claims have yet to be fully pleaded, we have taken advice from leading law firms and obtained three QC barristers opinions as to the merits of their claims and also the EFL current position.

We have highlighted different ways in which we believe these claims can be dealt with and we are in discussions with the EFL in this regard. As referred above, no interested party is willing to commit to acquiring the club without further clarity on these claims and we continue, tirelessly to find a solution to move matters forward.

3. Funding and the EFL position

We have maintained cordial and business-like relations with the EFL and are committed to continue with those. They are the regulator, and we understand and respect their rules. They have concerns about the time this process is taking, principally because of point 2 above, and have asked us for evidence that we have the ability to fund the club through to the end of the season in the event we are not able to successfully achieve an exit before then. The EFL have maintained this position throughout and our objective was always that once we had formalised our buyer, that we would work with that buyer to help with funding whilst the formalities of exiting the Administration were dealt with. That remains our intention and indeed discussions with those interested parties as referred above have focused on their commitment to provide that funding. The deadline for evidence of funding is 1st February, at which time the EFL have said that if they do not have firm evidence of funding, they will consider their position in terms of Derby’s ability to fulfil the fixture list. We have provided the EFL with 3 scenarios as to how that funding gap can be bridged and the EFL await further confirmation from us as to which scenario we plan to deliver. This will be dealt with over the next few days. In the interim, the EFL have confirmed that until as such time as they are satisfied with that evidence, they will not allow any new player registrations to take place and this does include player contract extensions.

4. Playing Squad and discussions with Wayne Rooney

We have maintained a regular dialogue with Wayne Rooney and indeed met with him on Tuesday this week. We are hugely impressed with his commitment and understanding of the position. We are also hugely impressed with the attitude and performance of the players in this very difficult time. We have explained the current position to Wayne Rooney and have committed to keeping him abreast of our progress. There have been some player exits but our position has always been that we would like to maintain the integrity and quality of the squad as best we can. That is still our intention.

We would like to assure everyone linked to the club that we are working tirelessly to achieve a successful outcome and still believe this is possible. We understand the frustrations of the supporters who are desperate for the club to survive and we are doing everything in our power to make this happen.

It is our intention to maintain open dialogue with you and will communicate as and when we have meaningful updates.

As the EFL issue an update on Derby County with a further admission made, Twitter users had their say…

@TupperPrice: Err, how are the admins going to confirm the preferred bidder until the MFC and WWFC football creditor issue is resolved? Laughable.

@SteveBloomerPod: The EFL and Quantuma are just gonna go back and forth blaming each other until we liquidate, aren’t they?

@ppounder: Stop the blame culture and save the f**king club. Your part in being not fit for purpose will come later. When you have multiple clubs breaching FFP and going out of business every season, maybe you need to look inwards too!!

@dogavic :Do you really want clubs suing each other over every breach of regulations? Do you want every league table to be decided in court by lawyers rather than players on the pitch? Cos that’s exactly what happens if you don’t stamp out these clearly spurious claims #SaveDerbyCounty

@DcfcFansTalk: We can’t until the claims are sorted. Fuck sake how many times.

@greds05: Tell me you don’t care without telling me you don’t care

@storm16540959: Just shows social media can have a big impact! Isn’t it strange that they sat on there hands for months now all of a sudden they are releasing statements?! Everyone knows we cannot name a preferred bidder until they state if it’s a football creditor or not!

@RJT2000: No legal expert but I read this as they don’t want to make a decision about ‘football creditors’ for fear of how this affects the future of the league ie everyone starts suing each other. Maybe their rules are ambiguous so they have to be held accountable, big money at stake here

@WWoodbine74: So, clearly a case of ‘don’t blame us’ even though they have done everything in their power to block any moves to get out of the mess and pushed for every possible sanction they could to get us in the mess they have. Amazing that they’re happy for a club to disappear!

@cartledge_tom: EFL are defending their position now but football authorities should be responsible – on behalf of all fans – not to just wait for an ‘event’ but continually act to prevent mis management, breaking rules, fit and proper owner – this could have been avoided @henrywinter

@leegurney: Let’s force Derby out of business instead of taking responsibility! Corrupt bunch of cunts

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