What the latest EFL decision means for Derby County's Championship future

Ross Jackson
Derby County were threatened with relegation
Derby County were threatened with relegation / Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Rarely do you see a fixture list released with an asterisk against one team's entire list of games because it's unclear which league they'll be playing in next season.

That was the level of uncertainty surrounding Derby County's future in the Championship when the second tier released the fixtures for the 2021/22 campaign.

The Rams were recently hit with a £100,000 fine for breaching EFL accountancy rules following a decision from an independent commission, yet the threat of a retrospective points deduction still loomed over the club's head.

Such was the nature of last season's Championship relegation battle, anything more than a one-point deduction would have seen Wayne Rooney's side slip into League One, with Gareth Ainsworth's Wycombe Wanderers waiting nervously to hear if they would be afforded a second season in the Championship at their expense.

Any hopes the Chairboys had of playing in the 2021/22 second tier were extinguished on Friday as the EFL decided not to appeal against the independent commission's decision not to dock points from Derby's total for the last campaign, meaning the Rams will definitely play in next season's Championship.

While the EFL remain steadfast in their belief that Derby have breached FFP (Financial Fair Play) rules severely enough to warrant a points deduction, having read the 52-page written judgement the league's lawyers simply concluded they would not win any future appeal.

Wayne Rooney's side are under a transfer embargo for now
Wayne Rooney's side are under a transfer embargo for now / Athena Pictures/Getty Images

In layman's terms, the ruling came down to a matter of judgement and once the independent commission had sided with Derby once they would only do the same again.

However, as part of the ruling Derby have been told to refile accounts for the financial years ending June 2016, 2017 and 2018, meaning this saga could well rumble on for years to come.

So what happens now you're probably asking yourself?

First of all Derby have until 16:00 on Wednesday 21 July to pay the £100,000 fine issued to them, while the refiling of their accounts for the three aforementioned years will have to be completed by Wednesday 18 August.

Mel Morris has come in for criticism over his running of Derby in recent years
Mel Morris has come in for criticism over his running of Derby in recent years / Michael Regan/Getty Images

Back in 2018, Derby owner Mel Morris caused uproar as he sold Pride Park to himself in a bid to avoid breaching FFP rules. The panel have already agreed with the £81m valuation on the stadium, meaning their accounts for the years after said sale should be fine, but the outcome of any accounts before the sale remain up in the air.

Derby are now free to concentrate on building for the 2021/22 Championship season - well, as free as you can be when you've been place under a transfer embargo until their accounts have been refiled - with the EFL's decision not to appeal the recent ruling meaning this matter is now closed.

However, it remains to be seen what sanctions - if any - will be brought about following the refiling of their accounts from 2016, 2017 and 2018, and the club have been given a final warning about their financial conduct moving forward.