Will Preston North End face Derby County or Wycombe Wanderers in the Championship next season?

It's still not been decided if Preston North End will take on Derby County or Wycombe Wanderers in the Championship next season.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 11:41 am

Derby have been fined £100,000 over some of their accounting policies – but the threat of relegation to League One has not completely evaporated.

The Rams survived in the Championship on the final day of the 2020/21 season courtesy of a 3-3 draw with Sheffield Wednesday, with Wycombe Wanderers left just a point adrift of survival.

But amid their relegation scrap was the threat of sanctions from the EFL – who brought two charges against the Rams last year, claiming that the club had breached financial fair play rules.

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Preston North End striker Sean Maguire tracks Wayne Rooney in PNE's Carabao Cup win at Pride Park last season

An independent disciplinary commission initially cleared the club, meaning they avoided a serious sanction.

However, an appeal was later settled in favour of the EFL with Derby now handed this £100,000 fine as a result – avoiding a points deduction.

This may not be the end of the tale, however, as both the EFL and Derby can appeal the decision of the independent disciplinary commission to dish-out the fine.

The EFL could push for sterner punishments, including a sporting sanction such as a points deduction.

Were this to be applied to the 2020/21 season rather than to any future season, then it could see the Rams relegated to League One with Wycombe handed a dramatic reprieve.

And with a potential appeal in mind, the EFL have confirmed that an ‘interchangeable’ fixture list will be published – to cater for either Derby or Wycombe being in League One next season.

The fixture list published on Thursday morning has North End hosting Derby at Deepdale on October 16, with the return fixture at Pride Park on April 2.

The EFL statement issued on Wednesday night in full:

"An independent Disciplinary Commission has delivered its verdict on sanctions for Derby County relating to ongoing disciplinary proceedings.

"In May, an Independent League Arbitration Panel ruled that the Disciplinary Commission was wrong to dismiss the League’s expert accountancy evidence, which demonstrated that the club’s policy regarding the amortisation of player registrations was contrary to standard accounting rules.

"More specifically, the panel determined that the club’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.

"Tonight, the Disciplinary Commission has announced that the sanction to be imposed in respect of those breaches, is a financial penalty of £100,000 to be paid to the EFL and a reprimand for the Club as to its future conduct regarding the preparation of its Annual Accounts.

"In addition, the club has also been ordered to file restated accounts for financial years ending 30 June 2016, 2017 and 2018 that meet the requirements of FRS102, together with updated Profit & Sustainability calculations if necessary.

"Both Derby County and the EFL have the right to appeal that sanction decision.

"That being the case, ahead of the publication of the 2021/22 season fixture lists on 24 June at 9am, the EFL can confirm that it has developed an interchangeable fixture list for Derby County and Wycombe Wanderers, while the disciplinary process is finalised.

"The fixture list for both the Championship and League One will be published in full based on the 2020/21 final standings, pending any appeals relating to this decision.”

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