Forest loses appeal against 4-point deduction and stays in relegation danger in Premier League

Tue, May 7, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Forest loses appeal against 4-point deduction and stays in relegation danger in Premier League

Nottingham Forest lost its appeal against a four-point deduction for breaching the Premier League's financial rules, a ruling that keeps the team in relegation danger with just two games remaining this season.

The league said Tuesday that an appeal board has upheld the decision taken by an independent commission in March, which dropped Forest into the relegation zone.

Forest has since climbed back out of the bottom three and is in 17th place in the 20-team league, three points above the relegation zone.

Forest was found to have breached the league's profitability and sustainability regulations covering the period from 2020-23. The club was only in the Premier League for one of those seasons - 2022-23 - and was permitted losses of up to 61 million pounds ($77 million) that year, its first back in the Premier League since 1999.

Forest went above the threshold by 34.5 million pounds ($44 million).

The club launched on appeal on two grounds - that the commission failed to regard the 47.5 million-pound ($60-million) sale of Brennan Johnson soon after the three-year assessment period ended as a mitigating factor and that some or all of the points deducted should have been suspended.

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"Each of these grounds was rejected by the appeal board, which found the independent commission was entitled to immediately impose the sanction it did," the Premier League said in a statement. "The four-point deduction will therefore remain in place."

Forest still has to play Chelsea at home and next-to-last Burnley away, and would be guaranteed to stay up if it picks up at least four points from those matches.

Much of Forest's mitigation effort centered around the club's attempts to sell Johnson, one of its top players, after last season finished. Forest realized it was going to be in breach of the rules and needed to sell him or another valuable player by a June 30 deadline for any transfers to be included in the figures for the three-year financial assessment period.

Forest rejected bids for Johnson from Atletico Madrid and Brentford on or before June 30 and wound up selling him to Tottenham on Sept. 1. By then, the club was in breach of the rules.

The three-person appeal board did not regard Forest holding out for a higher fee for Johnson as a mitigating factor, saying "it was a matter for the club how it managed its affairs in a compliant way."

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