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New relegation threat emerges hours after Derby County save their Championship lives

The Rams avoided the drop to League One by the skin of their teeth after a 3-3 draw with Sheffield Wednesday but, according to the Sun on Sunday, they could be heading straight back into a fresh relegation battle next season

Hours after securing their Championship status in a nerve-shredding last day relegation fight, it has emerged that Derby County could face a major setback to next season’s campaign.

That’s according to reports in the Sun on Sunday which claim the Rams could be hit with a points deduction running into double figures which, if implemented, would thrust Wayne Rooney’s side straight back into a survival fight from day one of the 2021/22 campaign.

SunSport says it understands an independent disciplinary appeal is ready to come down in favour of the EFL, who have refused to accept defeat in a cash row.

It says the dispute centres on the size of Derby’s debts and using the sale of their Pride Park stadium to cover those losses, as well as anomalies in the ‘transfer values’ of players.

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The charges were dismissed by the first independent disciplinary commission in August 2020. However, with several other clubs angered by the outcome, the EFL appealed.

The report says both the league and the company used as the independent panel refused to comment.

However, SunSport claims sources say the decision had already been taken - but was kept secret as Derby fought for Championship survival.

Sun writer Alan Nixon says this was the same “hush, hush procedure” they used with Sheffield Wednesday in a similar case a year ago - and they announced the verdict after the season was over.

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The EFL wanted to dock Wednesday 12 points for their FFP offences but eventually the penalty was set at six.

That punishment put the Owls on the back foot at the start of the season and they paid the ultimate price in yesterday’s final day battle at Pride Park, which ended 3-3 and resulted in Wednesday being relegated to League One.

SunSport believes the EFL will now charge Derby for overspending across three season and the sanctions will be severe.

The points penalty will be decided by another independent disciplinary commission - and that means the punishment is not handed out this season.

But Mel Morris’ club could, the report insists, be hit with a points deduction next season that runs into double figures.

The EFL refused to confirm the decision and told SunSport: “We are not in a position to make any comment.”

According to the article, Sports Resolution, the company running the appeal, said: “As an independent body we are not able to comment on any aspect of cases, whether on-going or completed.

“This is the same consistent approach we apply to all external inquiries for cases we have managed.”

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