Nottingham Forest docked four points for EPL financial rules breach

The club are now 18th in the Premier League table.

Nottingham Forest docked four points for Premier League financial rules breach PA Media

Nottingham Forest have been docked four points for breaching Premier League financial rules.

The deduction drops Forest into the Premier League’s relegation zone, leaving them 18th with nine games to play.

The Premier League said Forest admitted breaching profitability and sustainability rules (PSR) by £34.5million above their permitted threshold of £61million.

Clubs are usually allowed maximum losses of £105million over a three-year assessment period but this is reduced by £22million per season for any seasons within the period spent in the Championship.

The commission which imposed the sanction on Forest praised the club for their “exceptional co-operation” in their dealings with the Premier League on this issue.

The commission noted Forest’s breach was “serious” and stated in its conclusion: “The four points sanction is not to punish Forest so much as it is to be fair to the other clubs; to give the public confidence that when a club invests as Forest did to compete in the Premier League, it still needs to comply with the PSR threshold for losses.”

The commission ruling added: “When a club like Forest took the risk of effectively ignoring the PSR warning from its finance director before the January window in 2023, and rather than looking to sell players, it added players to its squad, ultimately leaving itself with just two weeks to sell Player A (Brennan Johnson) in the summer 2023 window, such risk taking and ‘sailing close to the wind’ needs a proportionate sanction to maintain the integrity of the Premier League.”

Forest have yet to issue a statement indicating whether or not they would appeal. Under the ‘standard directions’ for dealing with PSR complaints, any appeal outcome must be known prior to June 1, when promoted clubs receive their Premier League ‘shares’.

Everton were docked 10 points in November for breaching PSR in the period up to the 2021-22 season, which was reduced to six on appeal.

A second complaint against the Toffees over a breach in the period up to last season is still being dealt with.

The ruling shows the Premier League pushed for a six-point sanction – with eight points as an initial figure to account for Forest’s excess over the threshold being 77 per cent greater than Everton’s, but discounted by two points to reflect Forest’s early plea and co-operation.

In contrast Forest argued that if a points deduction was imposed, it should be “minimal”, relying mainly on their “golden mitigation” – the fact that because Johnson’s sale to Tottenham occurred a short period later than was necessary for the assessment period, it meant their PSR breach was a “near miss”.

The commission said such an event could only have been described as a near miss “if it was truly near to the PSR deadline (June 30, 2023) or at the first available reasonable opportunity proximate to the deadline”.

It added: “Forest here waited until (owner Evangelos) Marinakis gave the sale instruction on August 28, 2023 and managed to sell Player A on the very last day of the summer window.

“This business decision flies in the face of mitigation. In all these circumstances, the commission determines that it cannot be rewarded as a mitigating factor.”

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