The administrators for Derby County Football Club say they are in talks with a number of potential buyers – but said former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley was not one of them.
The Rams went into administration three weeks ago and Andrew Hosking and Carl Jackson of business advisory firm Quantuma were appointed joint administrators.
The Championship club had been struggled to find potential investors, with former owner Mel Morris previously saying he had no choice but to make the “gut-wrenching” decision over its future.
A number of reports have been published about potential buyers in recent days including some linking Sports Direct CEO Ashley to Derby.
However, a statement from Andrew Hosking, managing director at Quantuma, said: “We have been contacted by a number of interested parties in relation to the sale of Derby County and have subsequently issued a series of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) for signature in order to proceed.
“Of those who have returned a signed NDA, several have been able to provide the necessary proof of funds we have requested to be considered as a serious bidder.
“As this is an ongoing process, we are unable to comment on the names of the individuals and organisations that have met this criteria at this time.
“We can however confirm that we have neither been approached by, nor have we entered into dialogue with Mike Ashley.”
Mr Hosking also confirmed reports that Quantuma were attempting to overturn the 12 point Championship points Derby had taken off them after going into administration.
He said: “I can confirm that an appeal was lodged against the 12-point deduction imposed on Derby County’s 2021/22 season total on September 22, 2021.
“As a consequence, this matter has been referred to an independent arbitration panel who will consider representations from both parties before making a determination.
“At this current time, the club’s points total in the Championship table will remain unchanged.”
The statement was similar to one issued by the EFL.
The penalty pushed the club from 12th in the Championship where they had 10 points, to bottom of the league with minus-two points.
The team, managed by Wayne Rooney, is now on plus-two points, but rooted at the foot of the table and seven points from safety.
Derby also face the potential of losing another nine points.
According to Mark Whiley, writing in DerbyshireLive, he appeal by the administrators will be a costly process.
As a guide of how much the process will cost, the appeal to try to quash Wigan Athletic’s points penalty for entering administration amounted to around £400,000.
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