Derby takeover delayed by EFL with stadium ownership one sticking point

Derby County.

Derby County’s takeover by American businessman Chris Kirchner has been delayed after detailed talks at Thursday’s Football League meeting.

Kirchner’s proposals to take charge of the stricken Midlands club were heard by the Football League but further dialogue is required before a deal can be approved.

Derby’s administrators Quantuma named Kirchner as the preferred bidder last month and has flown into England to attend the club’s final game of the season on Saturday against Cardiff.

Kirchner has already provided a business plan and information to fulfil the owner and directors’ test, but the EFL are seeking clarity over issues such as spending levels for next season.

Derby’s finances will run out on Saturday, with Kirchner now prepared to take on funding, while the issue over ownership of Pride Park Stadium urgently needs resolving.

Former owner Mel Morris still owns the stadium, with over £20 million owed to American loan company MSD who hold the charge, with negotiations ongoing over a deal with Derby City Council.

The Council are willing to buy Pride Park from Morris, though sources claim no agreement is imminent.

The EFL releasted a statement on Thursday: “The EFL Board has today been advised that a deal to take Derby County out of administration and under the ownership of Mr Chris Kirchner is nearing completion.

“Evidence of source and sufficiency of funding has now been provided but there still remain a number of outstanding challenges to be resolved.

“As a result, the Board has instructed the Executive to continue its discussions with Mr Kirchner and his representatives in regard to finalising the terms of a Membership agreement.

“However, a significant issue remains in respect of the status of the stadium and Mr Kirchner continues in dialogue with the relevant parties as to how this can be resolved. It is clear that the complexity associated with this aspect of the transaction is the biggest hurdle to overcome.

“The EFL acknowledges the current time pressures relating to Mr Kirchner’s position as preferred bidder and will seek to conclude matters as soon as possible in line with requirements as set out in the League’s Insolvency Policy.”

Derby have been in administration for over eight months and huge debts remain with over £35 million owed to HMRC.

The club were also docked 21 points this season – 12 for entering administration and nine for historical financial breaches.

Relegation to League One was confirmed last month, but Rooney has declared if he will stay as manager if Kirchner completes his takeover.

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