Derby County are set to enter administration amid ongoing financial problems at the Championship club.
The Rams, who have had two unsuccessful takeover attempts this year, said the move was due to “a number of developments”, including a failure to identify new owners and the continuing financial impact of COVID-19.
Derby, managed by former England captain Wayne Rooney, face a mandatory 12-point deduction as a result of the move to enter administration.
In a statement revealing their intentions on Friday night, the club said they were appealing to the EFL “to now assist the club and the administrators in any way they can in the effort to find a purchaser”.
“Last week, it became clear that the process which has been underway to identify a purchaser for the club likely would not be productive over the near term, despite the number of negotiations with credible parties,” Derby said.
“Because the COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on the revenues and profits of all of its businesses, the club has been unable to service its day-to-day financial obligations. The directors had no choice but to make the tough decision to take this action and protect the club.”
Derby owner Mel Morris has told Sky Sports News he is “devastated” as Derby face administration and a 12-point deduction.
Rooney’s side sit 16th in the Championship after their opening seven games of the season.
The club, who have been owned by Morris since 2015, are already facing the possibility of separate points penalties for prior breaches of Financial Fair Play rules.
The statement continued: “The irony is that the club’s financial forecasts show the emergence of a financially sustainable picture. Absent from the COVID-19 pandemic, we undoubtedly would have been able to trade through.
“However, the impact of COVID-19 and the unpredictability it has created represents too much of a strain.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown tightened their grip, the club’s revenues and cash flow took a circa £20million hit.”
Derby were initially charged in January 2020 over breaches of spending rules and subsequently cleared, but the EFL’s appeal over their accounting policies resulted in a £100,000 fine in June.
Speaking about reports of a points deduction earlier this week for breaching financial fair play rules, Rooney said on Friday: “If nine points is the penalty we have to take then I’m confident we’ll stay in this division.
“Obviously like everyone else we’re waiting to see what’s going to happen and what’s going on. If it’s nine points then I’ve got a lot of faith in the players and in myself.”
Derby avoided relegation from the Championship on the final day of last season after drawing 3-3 at Pride Park against Sheffield Wednesday.
The club then avoided a points deduction, which would have sent them down to League One, when the EFL decided not to appeal against a decision to only fine the club for failing to comply with finance rules.