Reading Football Club has found itself in hot water with the English Football League (EFL) after being charged three times last season for failing to pay their players on time and in full. The charges specifically relate to the wage bills from October, November, and April. Not only is the club facing consequences for this, but owner Dai Yongge has also been charged for causing a breach of EFL regulations.
The Royals, who were without a manager, had a disappointing 2022-23 season, resulting in their relegation to League One for the first time in 21 years. To add to their troubles, Reading and Dai have until the 29th of June before the end of the business day to respond to these charges.
Another team facing similar charges from the EFL is Wigan Athletic, who were also relegated from the Championship. As a result of their failure to pay players on time, the Latics have been docked four points on two separate occasions, leaving them with an eight-point deficit compared to their opponents as they start their League One campaign.
This is not the first time Reading has faced punishment from the EFL. In April, they were deducted six points for breaching the terms of a previously agreed business plan related to a profit and sustainability rule violation. This penalty essentially sealed their fate and contributed to their relegation. Additionally, in 2021, Reading received a six-point penalty for recording losses of £57.8m between 2017 and 2021, surpassing the EFL's limit for that period, which was set at £39m.
In a letter to fans, Royals chief executive Dayong Pang expressed confidence that the club would rectify the mistakes made in the past. He acknowledged the significant financial challenges faced by the club and assured supporters that owner Mr. Dai was working diligently to resolve the issues and ensure a stable and successful future for Reading Football Club.
Despite the charges brought against them by the EFL for late payment of wages on three occasions, Reading is prepared to defend themselves. The club has pledged to pay staff in full and on time this month and moving forward, addressing previous payroll issues caused by complex and unforeseen cashflow problems.
The recent EFL decision has sparked frustration among supporters, leading to planned protests. The fans are expressing their discontentment with the situation and the consequences faced by the club.