Reading's humiliating 7-1 loss against Norwich at the weekend did little to harm the Berkshire club's promotion chances. The Royals sit fourth in the Championship table, six points clear of seventh place Fulham with only five games left to play. Missing out on the playoffs at this late stage would require a dramatic and unlikely collapse from Jaap Stam's team.
But while things look relatively rosy on the pitch, speculative questions are starting to be asked regarding the developing off-field situation at the club and how there is a chance, however small, that it could potentially see the door to the Premier League slammed firmly shut even if Reading earn the right to return to the top flight.
A report from the Daily Telegraph has suggested that Reading could be denied promotion to the Premier League because of certain 'misgivings' over a Chinese takeover at the Madejski Stadium.
Brother and sister pair Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li have been given provisional permission by the Football League to complete their proposed purchase of the club. Certain conditions must still be met, but the EFL board is satisfied that the Dai siblings meet the criteria for club ownership.
The problem arises, the Telegraph points out, from their failed attempt to buy Hull City in September. It is said the Premier League had 'concerns' over the structure of the proposed deal and so the Chinese consortium was forced to look elsewhere for its investment opportunity.
The proposed purchase of Reading is allowed to go ahead because the deal has apparently been structured differently this time. Even so, the previous attempt to buy Hull off controversial owner Assem Allam, may still count against the Dais when the Premier League begins its own assessment should Reading be promoted, or so it is claimed.
It's a long shot and overtly speculative at this stage, not least because the initial failure regarded a completely different takeover proposal, but no club has ever been denied promotion to the Premier League before. That alone is enough to make it something of a talking point for now.
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