Nottingham Forest has been issued a four-point deduction for breaching Premier League profitability and sustainability rules (PSR).

An independent commission has found that the club’s losses from 2022/23 breached the threshold of £61m by £34.5m, leading to Forest being charged and issued a four-point deduction, dropping the team into the relegation zone.

In response, the club has published a written statement: “Nottingham Forest is extremely disappointed with the decision of the Commission to impose a sanction on the club of four points, to be applied with immediate effect.

“Notwithstanding our disappointment, we thank the Commission for agreeing to deal with this matter on an expedited basis. The club considers it to be essential for the integrity of the league to have charges resolved in the season in which they are issued.”

Forest are the second team this season to be docked points by the league, with Everton’s initial 10-point deduction reduced to six after a successful appeal, which Forest is looking to replicate.

In the statement, the club has referenced that the league initially looked to take away eight points due to this breach being 77% larger than in Everton’s case.

The club said: “We were extremely dismayed by the tone and content of the Premier League’s submissions before the Commission.  

“After months of engagement with the Premier League, and exceptional cooperation throughout, this was unexpected and has harmed the trust and confidence we had in the Premier League. 

“That the Premier League sought a sanction of eight points as a starting point was utterly disproportionate when compared to the nine points that their own rules prescribe for insolvency.”

Forest also explained that the rules make it harder for newly promoted sides to compete. 

The rules state that Premier League clubs can incur losses of up to £105m over three years. However, Nottingham Forest’s allowable losses were capped at £61m due to spending two of those years in the Championship.

Forest said: “We were also surprised that the Premier League gave no consideration at all to the unique circumstances of the Club and its mitigation. 

“In circumstances where this approach is followed by future PSR commissions, it would make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for newly promoted clubs without parachute payments to compete, thus undermining the integrity and competitiveness of the Premier League.”

At the heart of the breach is the Brenan Johnson transfer. The academy graduate forward was crucial because selling him would contribute entirely to profit. To meet PSR regulations by 30 June, the club needed to sell a player.

Atlético Madrid offered €50m (£42.9m) for Johnson, but the club insisted on €65m (£55.8m). Despite three offers from Brentford between July and August, all were turned down. Eventually, Johnson was sold to Tottenham on 1 September for £47.5m.

The commission feels the club could have done more to complete Johnson’s transfer by 30 June, given multiple teams were interested. Furthermore, it said that missing the deadline by over two months doesn’t qualify as a “near miss”.

“Whilst the Premier League may have called into question the Club’s business plan, the Club maintains that it responsibly balanced compliance with PSR with important investment into the squad to give us the ability to compete in the league for the first time in over 20 years,” the club continued.

“Even after the Club had missed the PSR reporting deadline, it still took steps to ensure Brennan Johnson was sold before the end of the transfer window.  That was a clear demonstration of our respect and support for PSR.” 

Looking forward, Forest has announced that the club will appeal the point deduction. However, Forest has seven days to appeal as there is a deadline of 24 May – five days after the season – for any PSR appeals to be concluded. 

As the relegation battle heats up, with Forest one point from safety and Everton still set to be charged for a second offence. This season could mean that the three teams that finish up in the relegation zone may not necessarily be the teams going down.

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