Derby County’s Debts Highest in Championship History

Derby County's debts

Sky Sports News’ Rob Dorsett has reported that Derby County’s debts are among the highest ever seen in the Championship. The debts, totalling £60 million, are made up of the £30 million owed to HMRC, £20 million that is owed to MSD, a United States investment firm who have supplied loans for the stadium owned by former owner Mel Morris, and then there is another £10 million owed to other creditors. The amount of money is a huge millstone around the neck of the club who have also had 21 points deducted and are working hard to avoid relegation.

How Derby County’s Debts Have Amassed

Pandemic

One reason why Derby’s debts have increased to such a high amount is due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Loss of revenue when no football was being played, along with high player wages, have all increased the debts. The fact that Morris still owns the ground further complicates the issues and Derby have just four weeks to avoid being liquidated.

Such an outcome would see one of the founding members of the Football League going out of business. Derby had been given until February 1 to prove that they had the finances to get to the end of the current season but the EFL have granted an additional four weeks for the proof to be provided.

Wycombe Wanderers and Middlesbrough

Two EFL clubs also have legal claims against the East Midlands club, with both arguing that the breach of financial regulations by Derby directly caused them both loss of considerable income. Middlesbrough missed out on the playoffs at the end of the 2020/21 Championship season and Wycombe were relegated as Wayne Rooney kept Derby up. Had Derby received the points deduction that was instead applied this season then both clubs would have not lost money and they are both determined to get that capital recompensed to them.

Sky Sports News has been told that those legal claims are set to be heard in the week commencing January 31 and an independent arbitration panel will decide on what happens next in regards to those claims. It could prove to be a huge moment in Derby County’s future.

EFL

The EFL have been accused by Derby of putting blocks in the administrator’s way at every turn but chairman Rick Parry has denied those claims and has said that they are working to try and find the best possible solution with all parties willing.

In a statement, he said: “To work night and day to find a solution and finding a preferred bidder is the missing piece in the jigsaw. Now if they have solutions, brilliant. Let’s see them. Nobody is trying to prevent solutions. It’s quite the opposite.”

Fit and Proper: A Result of Derby County’s Debts

The situation at Derby County has again called into question the EFL’s fit and proper tests for owners of football clubs and raises the question as to just how the club were able to get into such a huge financial mess. The pandemic has affected every club and is understandable but the additional debts point to poor business management from the former owner who has been able to walk away from the club and leave the administrators to deal with the debt.

There is a feeling within football that fans get left with the heartache of seeing their clubs’ die whilst those that caused the issues in the first place are able to walk away with little consequence to their actions and it is something that needs to be stopped.

Too many clubs have fallen by the wayside in recent years and surely another of the oldest cannot be allowed to go the same way but the situation at Derby is complex and it will need a buyer with deep pockets and a strong will to save them from extinction.

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