EFL chief denies he has 'vendetta' against Derby County as football club's future remains in limbo

Derby County FC supporters Credit: PA

It was at 10pm when the English Football League broke their silence on the issues at Derby County - a late night response to a situation that seems to be spiralling out of control.

If the intention of the EFL was to remove cynicism from Derby fans, I doubt it did.

If the intention was to clear muddied waters in what has become a horrendous saga for those still at the club, I'm not sure it did that either. 

From an EFL perspective, there were some key points made. Indeed the lengthy statement felt very defensive - but then again, when the organisation has been subjected to accusations of bias and of having it in for the club, perhaps we should have been expecting this kind of robust response. 

A vendetta against Derby 'completely fabricated'

The EFL unequivocally states that there is no vendetta against Derby and that any wish to see Derby expelled or go bust 'are completely fabricated and entirely false'. In addition the League also say they are absolutely not blocking the sale of the club.

But none of this will be of any comfort to Rams fans because of the content of the rest of the statement.

We now know for sure that Middlesbrough and Wycombe have had intentions to bring action against Derby County.

They both feel the Rams benefitted at their expense when the club broke the rules, by preventing promotion or being saved from relegation. 

Manager Wayne Rooney Credit: PA

But the claims still need to be answered

The EFL say potential bidders are unwilling to risk facing this action (if the claims are allowed and Derby lost, millions could be owed).

So only when these claims are either dealt with or disappear, the club will be taken over.

This is the major impasse - Derby refutes the claims and the EFL says it isn't party to the arbitration taking place and can't comment on them.

To Derby fans that will feel like an organisation washing their hands of it.

Administrators have less than three weeks to save the club

But the part that will really concern fans though is that it appears administrators have until February 1, 2022 to provide evidence of funding and a plan to take Derby to the end of the season. What we now have is a vicious cycle of blame.

The EFL say the administrators have failed so far to provide a guarantee of funding and with this uncertainty in mind, new signings are not allowed.

But the claims against Derby by the other clubs are preventing a sale and the administrators say that those same claims have no merit, yet the EFL says they cannot interfere with this process.

It begs the question - how can a cash stricken club with debts, provide a financial guarantee when new ownership is being stopped by the prospect of further action, that doesn't look like it can be resolved soon? 

Derby County FC stadium Credit: PA

Is Derby County Football Club still in limbo? Once again, if this sounds complicated, it's because it is. To many, it will feel like a club being pushed from pillar to post with no acceptable outcome and everyone being left in limbo. The EFL says it has taken submissions from the administrators and the other two clubs and wants to resolve the issue - how soon that can happen or whether it will happen, is anyone's guess at the moment.

A glimmer of hope?

There is a tiny chink of light in what most will read as a dark statement. The EFL indicated that although a club losing membership is a possibility and Derby therefore could face being kicked out of the league, they noted they reserve the right to treat each case individually.

Is this hinting that it is not at the moment on the cards that the Rams will suffer this fate? Is there a desire at the EFL to work around their rules to ensure a founder member keeps its place?

Those same cynical fans wouldn't bet on it, but the situation needs resolving and fast.