The English Football League has strongly criticized the highly disliked owner of Reading, Dai Yongge, for not adhering to his responsibilities. He has been fined once again for breaking a financial rule. The league is calling on the Chinese entrepreneur to either invest in or sell the struggling League One team.
On Saturday, a large number of Reading fans protested by entering the field, causing their League One match against Port Vale to be called off. Reading currently ranks 21st and is only three points away from avoiding relegation. The EFL board will meet on Wednesday to determine the proper response to the incident. According to the league, the pitch invasion highlighted the effects of the team’s current circumstances on all members of the club.
Yongge received a penalty of £20,000 last month for not depositing 125% of the monthly wage bill, as required. Additionally, a suspended fine of £50,000 was put into effect after he missed the deadline last Friday. The struggling team, which Yongge took over in 2017, has lost a total of 16 points over the last three seasons.
The Reading team, who are in danger of being demoted multiple times, have taken steps to reduce costs in the past few months. They have stopped staying overnight on away games and have had to lay off some coaching staff. They are also planning to sell players Tom Holmes and Nelson Abbey in order to raise money. Additionally, some of the club’s suppliers have put a hold on their accounts.
During the month of November, the head coach of Reading, Rubén Sellés, and their head of football operations, Mark Bowen, decided to forgo their wages in order to ensure that other staff members were able to be paid. Charlie Savage, who was signed from Manchester United last summer, is only one league start away from receiving a £2,000-a-month increase in pay. Despite having made 23 league appearances and 14 starts this season, Savage has not been in the starting lineup since 7 November. However, Reading has clarified that the reason for Savage’s absence from recent games is unrelated to his contract.
A meeting will take place on Tuesday at the House of Commons where the culture, media and sport select committee will address the challenges facing Reading. Representatives from the EFL and Premier League, including chairman Rick Parry and chief executive Richard Masters, will discuss the need for an independent regulator and financial redistribution. They will also meet with James Sunderland, the MP for Bracknell. On the same day, the EFL will also meet with the Supporters Trust at Reading (Star) and Sell Before We Dai, a fan group protesting against the owner.
The league released a statement on Monday, stating their desire for Mr. Dai to either provide sufficient funding for the club or promptly arrange for the sale of his majority shares to suitable new owners. This would allow everyone to move forward with renewed hope.
The English Football League (EFL) had previously advocated for a 12-month ban on Yongge participating in any football-related activities in hopes of initiating a turnaround at the club. However, an impartial disciplinary commission expressed disappointment in Yongge’s financial mishaps, but did not believe that banning him would facilitate sourcing the necessary funds to cover the club’s expenses.