Birmingham City’s battle to avoid a potential 12-point deduction will be heard in the final week of February, with a verdict expected before the end of the season.
The Championship club are facing punishment for breaking the English Football League’s new spending rules and will appear before a disciplinary commission later this month.
As revealed by Telegraph Sport in September, Birmingham could be docked up to 12 points and banned from operating in future transfer windows after allegedly breaching the EFL’s new profitability and sustainability rules.
Birmingham were hit with a transfer embargo at the end of last season after exceeding the permitted losses of £39m over a three-year period. They then angered rival clubs by signing Danish defender Kristian Pedersen from Union Berlin for £2m while under the embargo, with the EFL admitting they were “exceptionally disappointed”.
The hearing will be either shortly before or after Birmingham’s game at Bristol City on February 26 and the EFL is pushing for a decision this season. It is seen as a landmark case in the EFL’s new clampdown on financial spending, with other Championship clubs also potentially facing sanctions in the future.
Garry Monk, the manager, has impressively guided Birmingham into play-off contention this season and the club is expected to contest any punishment. A points deduction of 12 points would virtually end any hopes of finishing in the top-six, while they could even be plunged into a relegation battle.
After the 1-0 home defeat to Bolton on Tuesday, Monk said: “It’s not even a focus for me. Football is my focus.
“You can see the determination to put points on the board. Everything else is out of my control.”
Birmingham are currently eighth in the table, five points behind Middlesbrough in the final play-off place.