Reading have been plunged into the Sky Bet Championship relegation battle after being hit by an immediate six-point deduction under the EFL’s financial rules.
The Royals have dropped from 46 points to 40, leaving them just one above the drop zone as a result of the penalty.
The sanction relates to the club’s failure to meet an agreed budget following an earlier breach of the profit and sustainability limits in 2021. The initial breach carried a six-point penalty with a further six points suspended until the current campaign.
Despite the club’s best efforts to comply with rigorous cost-cutting measures, they have accepted falling short and now face “a huge fight” to stay up.
The independent club financial review panel, overseeing a case for the first time in the EFL, determined that Reading have not generated enough money from player sales and were relying on a proposed deal that had not been completed by a March 1 deadline to satisfy their commitments.
A statement from Reading said: “Despite radical changes implemented at first-team level and right across the structure of the business to its very core – and a rigid adherence to a strict league-monitored wage structure and transfer embargo, the club accepts that it has not sufficiently satisfied certain elements of the planned budget.
“In abiding by the EFL rules, the club have not spent a penny on transfer fees since the summer of 2020 and have not paid a loan fee to any club since the summer of 2019. Our squad has been entirely rebuilt from free transfers, free loanees and academy graduates.
Turning attention to on-field matters and calling on supporters to back the team’s now precarious position in the fight for survival, the club added: “We find ourselves with another huge fight on our hands.
“We will need our fans’ support once more. We know you, our loyal supporters, will rise to the challenge again and give this group of players the impetus they need to scrap and battle until the final whistle at Huddersfield on Monday May 8.”