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The ‘crazy’ fixture scenario that Derby and Wycombe could face next season

Derby County’s ongoing dispute with the EFL is already messy.

But according to a respected football finance guru, it could get a whole lot messier.

Kieran Maguire, speaking on his weekly Price of Football podcast, has shed new light on the situation involving County.

Last week saw the league publish an ‘interchangeable’ fixture list should Derby and Wycombe Wanderers swap places. An independent panel fined the Rams £100,000 for breaching accounting rules and asked the club to re-submit three years of accounts.

If it emerges that the club has lost more than £39million in that three-year period, they would be in breach of Financial Fair Play rules and be hit with a points penalty – giving Wycombe a Championship reprieve.

Derby survived on the final day of last season, finishing a point clear of third-bottom Wycombe.

Derby players celebrate their side’s safety on the final day of last season

Maguire has now hinted at a potentially embarrassing scenario for the EFL next term, which may involve the two clubs starting the new season in one division only to then swap a few weeks later.

That would be an unwanted first for all parties involved, not least of all the league itself.

Maguire explained: “Derby now have to resubmit their account. I’ve done some calculations.

“The rough figures are that Derby are going to be close to, but not necessarily exceeding, the £39million limit.

Wycombe Wanderers finished third-bottom in the Championship last season but could yet earn a reprieve

“It could come in under that but the EFL could appeal.

“All the time, the clock is ticking to August 7 (when the season starts) and the appeal by either side has to be in by August 18.

“So we could have the crazy situation where Wycombe and Derby – in theory, and I can’t see how this can work in practice – having played two or three games and then end up in different divisions.

“That’s unfair on all the clubs in the Championship and League One.”

Wycombe’s owner Rob Couhig waded into the matter last week, accusing 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.”

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.

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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.

The written reasons in Derby’s case are yet to be published. Once they are, the EFL and Derby will have 14 days to appeal.

The new season, as it stands, will see Derby open up their Championship campaign at home to Huddersfield with Wycombe beginning life back in League One with a home game against Accrington Stanley.

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