fforts at Pride Park in the 2021-22 campaign have been severely hampered by EFL sanctions, leading to relegation being suffered

The 2021-22 campaign was always going to be a testing one for Derby County, having only avoided relegation out of the Championship on the final day of the previous season, but a 21-point deduction further complicated matters for Wayne Rooney’s side.

The Rams were hit hard by EFL-imposed sanctions early on in the season and found themselves swimming against the tide in a bid to preserve the club’s second tier status.

Why do they find themselves in this predicament and how close did a Manchester United and England legend come to keeping them up against the odds?

Why were Derby deducted 21 points?

Derby were initially stung with a 12-point deduction in September 2021 for entering administration, with that punishment dropping them immediately to the foot of the Championship table.

Things then went from bad to worse for the East Midlands outfit when a further nine-point penalty, plus a further suspended three points, was handed out in November.

Derby were left paying the price for historical financial mismanagement that occurred during Mel Morris’ time as owner.

Admissions of guilt were made regarding breaches of the English Football League’s profitability and sustainability rules, with Morris selling Pride Park to one of his own companies for £81 million ($110m) before immediately leasing it back to the club.

The Rams had initially been cleared of any rule breaks by an independent tribunal in August 2020, but the EFL appealed that decision and won a part of that case which related to the measurement of player values – which is called amortisation.

Carl Jackson from Derby’s administrators, Quantuma, said at the time of a 21-point deduction being confirmed: “This has been a difficult matter to navigate bearing in mind the various issues concerned.

“While point deductions are never ideal for any club, it was critical to the club’s future that all matters were concluded between the EFL and the club in relation to historical issues.

“This conclusion allows us to proceed with our restructuring strategy for the club with prospective interested parties.”

Derby must now find a buyer – one willing to pay creditors at least 25 per cent of what they are owed – in order to avoid a further 15-point penalty.

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