Leeds United's possible Championship promotion rivals to receive points deduction following missed payments

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Leeds United will hope to be in the Premier League next season but could face a second season in the Championship.

Leeds United will have a headstart on a potential promotion rival next season if they fail to go up this term, following confirmation that Sheffield United will receive a points deduction.

The English Football League (EFL) confirmed on Thursday evening that Sheffield United would be docked two points after defaulting on a number of payments due for other clubs. The penalty will apply upon their return to the EFL’s jurisdiction, which will likely come next season.

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Chris Wilder’s side currently sit bottom of the Premier League, nine points from safety with seven games remaining. Another two-point deduction has been suspended and will be activated if any more payments are missed next season.

An EFL statement read: “An independent Disciplinary Commission (IDC) has determined that Sheffield United Football Club are to be deducted two points at the start of the next season the Club is in the EFL’s jurisdiction, with a further two points suspended until the end of that same season.

“The sanction relates to the 2022/23 season, when the Club defaulted on a number of payments to other Clubs. These defaults cumulatively were in excess of 550 days.

“The suspended points deduction will be activated if the Club defaults on any payment due to another Club under a transfer or compensation agreement for more than five business days from the due date for payment.

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“The Club has agreed to pay the EFL’s costs in the sum of £310,455.”

The penalty will only apply if Sheffield United return to the EFL, meaning it will only affect Leeds if they fail to achieve promotion this season. In the unlikely event that the South Yorkshire side stay up, they would not be docked points as a Premier League club.

Wilder’s side are the latest to fall victim to a points deduction, with two Premier League relegation rivals having points taken off this season. Everton have been docked eight points via two separate verdicts, while Nottingham Forest lost four points.

Leicester City are also facing the prospect of a points deduction if they are promoted to the Premier League, with recently published accounts confirming a loss of more than £200m over the most recent three-year period. The maximum permitted loss for that timeframe is £105m.

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Leeds will hope to replace Sheffield United in the top-flight and not be impacted by their deduction, but they currently sit one point outside the automatic promotion places with four games remaining. A run of one win in four has slowed momentum but Leicester and Ipswich Town have also begun to drop points as tension increases.

Daniel Farke’s side host Blackburn Rovers at Elland Road on Saturday lunchtime, with Leicester City at Plymouth Argyle on Friday evening before Ipswich host Middlesbrough on Saturday afternoon.