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Derby accused of ‘systematic cheating’ as Wayne Rooney ‘threatens to walk away’

Derby County boss Wayne Rooney is reportedly ready to walk away from the job if the club are controversially relegated to League One.

The Mail claim that the ex-England striker would leave if the Rams are handed a retrospective points deduction.

Earlier this week it was announced that Derby are to be fined £100,000 and must re-submit three years’ worth of accounts amid an ongoing case with the EFL.

The league has the option to appeal against the punishment and may call for a points deduction. If that was to happen it would mean Derby go into League One next season, with Wycombe being restored into the second tier.

Derby survived by a single point last season

To add to the uncertainty, the EFL published an ‘interchangeable’ fixture list yesterday which means the two clubs’ schedules can be swapped over, should it be necessary.

Wycombe owner Rob Couhig has now waded into the matter, and has accused Derby of “systematic cheating”.

He said: “It is beyond disappointing that a club can systemically cheat and end up with a slap on the wrist.

“You have years upon years of violating the rules. I don’t want to sound bitter about it. It is not over yet, obviously. But it just doesn’t make any sense.

Wycombe Wanderers were relegated after finishing a point behind Derby last season

“A £100,000 fine is what you would expect to receive if it was merely a technical [breach].

“In this case it was way beyond technical. That is what the appellant panel said.”

The Rams were cleared of breaching FFP rules last year. However, the EFL appealed against the decision to an independent tribunal and won the element of the case concerning the amortisation of players.

Couhig added that his club would be willing to sue the Rams for millions of pounds if Wycombe are denied a spot in next season’s second tier.

He added: “If we don’t get a decision until after we have started and we were forced to play in League One, my suspicion would be Derby would owe Wycombe for the losses we would sustain for not playing in the Championship in 2021-22 and any reasonably projected economic losses.

“So we are looking in the region of £10m-£15m of potential losses for a Derby club which, the last time I looked, is having some trouble paying its creditors.

“We would have an obligation to look into [suing them]. If it was the best thing for the club, yes, that is what we would do.”

With regards Rooney’s future, the Mail report claims that he could quit without having to pay compensation.

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Rooney only signed a two-and-a-half year deal as permanent boss in January but it is thought that he could cite employer conduct as a valid reason to exit – should the worst happen and County are demoted.

Derby only clinched Championship survival on the final day of last season. A dramatic 3-3 draw with Sheffield Wednesday saw the Owls go down, and County narrowly stay up.

Following the final whistle, Rooney made it clear he was in no mood to go through another season of off-field drama, following numerous failed takeovers.

He said: “We have to have positive news and move forward as a club.

“We cannot have another season like this because it won’t end well.

“The lads have done everything to make sure it doesn’t this season and I can’t stress enough have good they have been in a very difficult moment.”

Derby are scheduled to begin next season at home to Huddersfield, whilst Wycombe are pencilled in to host Accrington Stanley.

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