There are a number of “well-heeled” businesspeople ready to step in to prevent Derby County from being liquidated, Sky SportsNews you have been told.
Concerns over the club’s future have mounted since Chris Kirchner, who exchanged contracts committing to buy the club, failed to transfer the necessary cash before Friday’s 5pm deadline.
The EFL has now written to the administrators, expressing real concern that Derby will not be able to field a team next season, “risking the integrity of the competition”, with the fixtures due out in less than two weeks.
League organizers have taken what is thought to be an unprecedented step, informing the administrators, Quantuma, that they must now be directly involved in negotiations with potential bidders for Derby.
It is understood Quantuma have seen proof of funds from at least five groups who still want to buy the club. They include Kirchner, former Newcastle owner Mike Ashley and former Derby chairman Andy Appleby.
Sky SportsNews has been told that while the priority is to complete a club takeover long before the fixtures are released, there is the potential for “back-up” funding to be made available for Derby to assemble a squad and fulfill their fixtures should that process be delayed .
Some officials are concerned that the EFL’s plans to intervene in the administration process might be in breach of financial protocols, and jeopardize the confidentiality of the bidding process.
Kirchner still wants to buy Derby
Kirchner is adamant he still intends to complete a deal to buy Derby despite missing several deadlines for the purchase money to be paid.
Kirchner no longer has exclusivity to try to complete a takeover after missing Friday’s 5pm deadline, set by the club’s administrators.
It is understood he has told Quantuma, the administrators, the money to buy the club is lodged in a European bank clearing account, awaiting money-laundering checks to be completed.
Kirchner has altered his plans to fly back to America, and will stay in the UK to try to finalize a deal.
Ashley remains interested but ‘disappointed’ by administrators
Ashley, former owner of Newcastle, has the cash to buy the club by himself and is still determined to purchase, but says he is being ignored by the administrators, while two other, as yet unnamed, groups are also involved in the bidding process.
Ashley has contacted Derby’s administrators, Quantuma, through his lawyers and communicated that he “remains willing and ready to transact.”
Ashley, who has been interested in buying Derby since October after he sold Newcastle, has made offers in the sale process but not received any response from Quantuma for some time.
A letter sent to the lawyers of Quantuma on Ashley’s behalf says he has been “disappointed by what [he] considers has been the failure of the joint administrators to engage constructively” during the process.
It adds that Ashley does not wish “to be treated as a contingency measure and would require some form of security” from the administrators before entering into further discussions over the sale of Derby.