Derby County are to face disciplinary sanctions after the English Football League (EFL) won an appeal over an error in law relating to the handling of a previous misconduct charge concerning the club’s accounting policies.
It is not yet clear whether any punishment will be applied to this season or next as the EFL said there was “no definitive timescale” for proceedings.
An independent league arbitration panel concluded an August 2020 disciplinary commission was wrong to dismiss the EFL’s expert accountancy evidence which stated the club’s valuation of player registrations (amortisation) was contrary to standard accounting rules.
The disciplinary commission had already concluded that the club did not adequately disclose in its financial statements the nature and/or effect of its change in accounting policy and there has been no appeal against that decision.
Derby and the EFL will now have the opportunity to make submissions on the appropriate sanction arising out of those breaches.
“Despite media speculation there is no definitive timescale for a determination on sanction though the League will press for a decision as soon as reasonably possible and will provide a further update at the appropriate time,” said an EFL statement.
The success of the appeal hinged on the the fact the panel determined Derby’s policy was not in accordance with accounting standard FRS102 because it failed to accurately reflect the manner in which the club takes the benefit of player registrations over the lifetime of a player’s contract.
Derby, who avoided relegation from the Championship by a point on Sunday, said they were disappointed with the decision.
“The club accepts but is disappointed with the LAP’s conclusion on the one ground that the EFL succeeded on,” said a statement.
“The club and the EFL have agreed that the matter shall now be remitted back to the original DC (disciplinary commission) who can determine what, if any, consequences arise from the partial success of the EFL’s amortisation charge, and the club is therefore currently unable to comment further.”
Derby claim the reason the appeal took so long was because of issues raised by Middlesbrough and then the EFL, each of which was dismissed, and had this not occurred the issue would have been concluded last year.