Derby’s bitter feud with the Football League has escalated after the Championship club insisted they cannot be relegated retrospectively for breaching financial rules.
The EFL is set to appeal after Derby were fined just £100,000 over some of their accounting policies, with the disciplinary commission’s verdict announced at 11.30pm on Wednesday night.
A number of other Championship clubs are furious with the punishment, claiming it is not severe enough, and the EFL is prepared to appeal as it pushes for a points deduction which would relegate Derby to League One.
Due to the uncertainty, the EFL took the remarkable step of publishing an “interchangeable” fixture list on Thursday morning for Derby and Wycombe, who were relegated on the final day of last season.
Derby have claimed it would be “unlawful” to relegate them weeks after the season finished, and another drawn out legal battle means it is highly unlikely that any points deduction will be imposed for the 2020/21 season.
However, Derby could face future sanctions after being ordered to refile their revised accounts by August 18, for the financial years running from June 2016 to 2018.
If Derby are found guilty to have broken the Profitability & Sustainability rules, further punishment could follow which may include a points deduction.
It is also understood that Derby and Sheffield Wednesday are facing an EFL investigation over the failure to pay their players last season.
In response to the verdict delivered on Wednesday night, which the EFL insists it only received shortly before 10pm, Derby have issued a statement outlining their position.
“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,” it read.
“The EFL claims to have developed “an interchangeable fixture list for Derby County and Wycombe Wanderers” because there is a “possibility” that as part of a future appeal against the Decision of the Disciplinary Commission (which has not yet been brought) a points deduction could “take effect in 2020/21 that would potentially impact the final league placings”.
“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.”
Derby were found guilty over their policy for the amortisation of player registrations, with the EFL appealing after the charge was initially dropped.
Wycombe were relegated on the last day of last season, finishing one point behind Derby.