There are a number of “well-heeled” businessmen ready to step in to prevent Derby County from being liquidated, Sky Sports News has been said.
Concerns over the club’s future have grown since Chris Kirchner, who swapped contracts committing to buy the club, failed to transfer the necessary money by Friday’s 5pm deadline.
The EFL have now written to the administrators, expressing genuine concern that Derby will not be able to field a team next season, “risking the integrity of the competition” with fixtures scheduled to be less than two weeks away.
League organizers have taken what is believed to be an unprecedented step, telling administrators Quantuma that they must now be directly involved in negotiations with potential bidders for Derby.
It is understood that Quantuma has seen evidence of funds from at least five groups still keen to buy the club. They include Kirchner, former Newcastle owner Mike Ashley and former Derby chairman Andy Appleby.
Sky Sports News has been advised that although the priority is to complete the takeover of the club well before fixtures are published, there is a possibility that ‘backup’ funding will be made available to Derby to build a squad and fill their fixtures if this process is delayed.
Some officials worry that the EFL’s plans to interfere in the administrative process could violate financial protocols and compromise the confidentiality of the bidding process.
Kirchner still wants to buy Derby
Kirchner is adamant that he still intends to strike a deal to buy Derby despite several missed deadlines for payment of the purchase money.
Kirchner no longer has the exclusivity to try to complete a takeover after missing Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline set by the club’s administrators.
It is understood he told Quantuma, the directors, that the money to buy the club is deposited in a European bank clearing account, pending the completion of money laundering checks.
Kirchner has changed his plans to return to America and will remain in the UK to try to finalize a deal.
Ashley remains interested but ‘disappointed’ with directors
Former Newcastle owner Ashley has the money to buy the club on his own and is still determined to buy but says he is being ignored by the directors, while two other groups, as yet unknown, are also involved in the the bidding process.
Ashley has contacted Derby administrators Quantuma through his lawyers and said he “remains willing and ready to transact”.
Ashley, who has been keen to buy Derby since October after selling Newcastle, has made offers as part of the sale process but has not received any response from Quantuma for some time.
A letter sent to Quantuma’s attorneys on Ashley’s behalf says he was “disappointed with what [he] sees as the failure of co-directors to engage constructively” during the process.
He adds that Ashley does not want “to be treated as an emergency measure and would require some form of security” from the administrators before entering into further talks about selling Derby.