Forest drop into PL relegation zone after points deduction

Nottingham Forest have dropped into the relegation zone after being deducted four points for a breach of the Premier League’s Profitability and Sustainability Rules (PSR).

The club were charged in January after confirming they were in breach of the Premier League’s PSR for the assessment period ending 2022/23.

The Premier League said on Monday afternoon Forest admitted breaching PSR by £34.5m above their permitted threshold of £61m.

The bottom half of the Premier League after Forest’s point deduction

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

The four-point deduction moves Forest into 18th place in the Premier League, one point behind Luton, who move up to 17th.

Everton received a 10-point deduction – reduced to six on appeal – for similar breaches earlier this season.

Forest have seven days to appeal but Sky Sports News understands the club have yet to decide whether to do so, and are consulting with their lawyers.

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 28: A general view of the corner flag ahead of the Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Nottingham Forest and Manchester United at City Ground on February 28, 2024 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)
Nottingham Forest drop to 18th in the Premier League – one point from safety

A Premier League statement read: “An independent commission has applied an immediate four-point deduction to Nottingham Forest FC for a breach of the Premier League’s Profitability and Sustainability Rules (PSRs) for the period ending Season 2022/23.

“Nottingham Forest was referred to an independent commission on January 15, following an admission by the club that it had breached the relevant PSR threshold of £61m by £34.5m. The threshold was lower than £105m as the club spent two seasons of the assessment period in the EFL Championship.

“The case was heard in accordance with new Premier League rules, which provide an expedited timetable for PSR cases to be resolved in the same season the complaint is issued.

“The independent commission determined the sanction following a two-day hearing this month, at which the club had the opportunity to detail a range of mitigating factors. The commission found that the club had demonstrated “exceptional cooperation” in its dealings with the Premier League throughout the process.”

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League clash between Luton and Nottingham Forest on Saturday

Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have nine matches remaining this season, four of which are against sides in 14th-place or below.

Forest host 14th-placed Crystal Palace on Saturday March 30 – their first game after the international break – before travelling to 16th-placed Everton, 20th-placed Sheffield United and 19th-placed Burnley within the next two months.

Nottingham Forest fixtures

  • Crystal Palace (H) – Saturday March 30, Premier League, kick-off 3pm
  • Fulham (H) – Tuesday April 2, Premier League, kick-off 7.30pm
  • Tottenham (A) – Monday April 8, Premier League, kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports
  • Wolves (H) – Saturday April 13, Premier League, kick-off 3pm
  • Everton (A) – Saturday April 20, Premier League, kick-off 3pm
  • Manchester City (H) – Saturday April 27, Premier League, kick-off 3pm
  • Sheffield United (A) – Saturday May 4, Premier League, kick-off 3pm
  • Chelsea (H) – Saturday May 11, Premier League, kick-off 3pm
  • Burnley (A) – Sunday May 19, Premier League, kick-off 4pm

Why were Forest charged?

Sky Sports News senior reporter Rob Dorsett:

The complication starts here. Under Profitability and Sustainability Rules, commonly known as Financial Fair Play rules, Premier League clubs cannot return losses greater than £105m over three seasons.

But Forest weren’t in the Premier League for the three seasons under review. Instead, they were measured against a combination of EFL and Premier League rules, which meant they couldn’t return losses greater than £61m.

And Forest breached that £61m limit?

That’s what they were charged with, yes.

Is there a ‘but’ coming?

Yes. Two, in fact.

The first ‘but’ is that Forest believed they were only in breach for two months – between filing their accounts on June 30 and September 1 2023, when they received the first instalment of their sale of Brennan Johnson to Tottenham.

The dates are significant because Forest – and at least one other Premier League club that we are aware of – believe the dates for Premier League accounting should be aligned with the transfer window.

The second ‘but’ is that Forest believe that, not only would they have been within FFP and the Premier League’s PSR had they sold Johnson in June, but selling Johnson in September was in the ‘spirit’ of those sustainability rules.

Why did Forest argue that delaying Johnson’s sale was the right thing to do?

Because deferring his sale ultimately generated more money. Brentford offered £35m for Johnson in June, whereas Tottenham eventually paid a club-record £47.5m on Deadline Day.

Forest’s argument was that, by holding out for their asking price, they were respecting the spirit of the Premier League’s PSR.

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