Reading FC: Championship football club face relegation battle after six-point deduction

Reading now face relegation battle after breaching EFL rules

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Reading will sit just one point above the Championship relegation zone after they were handed a six-point deduction for breaching the English Football League’s (EFL) profitability and sustainability rules. Paul Ince’s side now sit 20th on 40 points after being handed their punishment.

The sanction relates to Reading’s failure to meet the terms of a business plan which had been agreed following the breach of profit and sustainability limits in 2021. The initial breach had a six-point penalty with a further six-points suspended penalty until the current 2022/23 campaign. The Royals have also been under a transfer embargo since the summer of 2021 as a result of the breach but this most recent failure to comply with the plan has meant the second six-point suspended deduction has been enforced.

This is the first time an EFL club has been subjected to a review by the newly formed independent Club Financial Review Panel and the Royals will now be required to agree a new budget with the ICFRU for next year’s season which will hope to ensure future compliance with the regulations.

Ince’s side will host Birmingham City on Friday as their first game post six-point deduction. They have seven games to save their season and stay above the bottom three, which currently consists of Huddersfield, Blackpool and Wigan. The Royals have lost four of their last six matches, drawing the remaining two and sit just one point above Huddersfield in 20th place in the league.

Friday’s 3pm match against Birmingham will be quickly followed by a trip to Preston on Monday as they fight to stay in EFL’s second tier division.

Paul Ince (R) and son Tom Ince during recent FA Cup match against Man United, January 2023Paul Ince (R) and son Tom Ince during recent FA Cup match against Man United, January 2023
Paul Ince (R) and son Tom Ince during recent FA Cup match against Man United, January 2023

What have the EFL said?

A statement released by the English Football League said: “Reading Football Club will be deducted six points from the 2022/23 Championship table, after the club admitted that it has failed to comply with the budget restrictions imposed, following a previous breach of the EFL’s profitability and sustainability rules (P&S).

“The points deduction is an activation of a suspended six-point penalty, which was set out in the terms of an agreed decision between Reading and the EFL in November 2021. The EFL has been notified and will apply the sanction with immediate effect.”

What has Reading said?

Reading released a statement that said: “Despite radical changes implemented at first team level and right across the structure of the business to its very core - and a rigid adherence to a strict league-monitored wage structure and transfer embargo, the club accepts that it has not sufficiently satisfied certain elements of the planned budget and that, as a result, the independent club financial review panel has been unable to ratify that the club has met its forecast for compliance.

“We have worked closely with the EFL and the independent club financial review unit throughout the process in our aims to achieve the targets set out in the agreed business plan and every reasonable effort has been made to construct a competitive squad of players whilst avoiding further punishment.

However, despite the substantial progress we have undeniably made and the lessons that we have indeed been learning, as promised, we accept that the situation was never going to be easily or quickly fixed.

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