Nottingham Forest’s crunch hearing over spending breaches to start next week

A general view of Nottingham Forest's home stadium the City Ground
A general view of Nottingham Forest's home stadium the City Ground

Nottingham Forest will launch their defence against the Premier League charge for breaking financial rules next week.

Forest’s crucial hearing is to start next Thursday and will conclude on Friday, as the club battles to avoid sanctions for a breach of the Profitability and Sustainability Rules [PSR].

With the verdict likely to have a significant impact on this season’s relegation battle, Forest have appointed leading sports lawyer Nick De Marco KC and his legal team to compile their defence with the club’s financial staff.

Forest admitted the breach on January 15, on the same day Everton were charged for a second time with breaching PSR.

Everton’s ten-point deduction from last November, after the first PSR charge, has been reduced to six after an appeal.

As Forest’s three-year financial period included two seasons in the Championship, they are only allowed to make permitted losses of £61 million following promotion in May 2022.

The crucial aspect is the amount of money that Forest have breached the permitted limits by. That will also determine the amount of points they may be deducted.

A key part of the club’s defence will focus on Brennan Johnson’s £47.5 million move to Tottenham on the summer transfer deadline, which fell outside the financial year 2022/23.

Forest rejected bids of £30 million and £35 million for Johnson from Brentford in June and July, and will argue that holding out for the fee agreed with Tottenham ensured they banked more profit.

The Premier League informed Forest of the hearing date last week, with the club now preparing to appear before a three-person independent commission. Forest declined to comment.

Forest’s case must be heard and concluded by April 15, which includes time for the club to submit an appeal if required.

After Everton’s points reduction, Forest are now 17th in the table and four points above Luton who occupy third bottom.

Forest’s head coach Nuno Espirito Santo said on Monday: “My job is to prepare the team and there are people inside the club who are taking care of it.

“It doesn’t make sense to think about what might happen. I cannot tell you much, we all have to wait and the decision with us has to be made - then we will see.

“These questions are not appropriate for me. Our focus has to be on the training, the matches and the preparation, and our tasks.”

Forest face Manchester United in the FA Cup fifth round on Wednesday night, with Nuno’s squad further decimated by injuries.

Nuno Tavares, the Arsenal loanee, is the latest player to be sidelined and is facing at least four weeks out with a thigh issue.

Tavares sustained the injury in the 2-0 victory over West Ham and could be unavailable until early April.