How long could prospective Derby County buyer Chris Kirchner’s EFL owners’ and directors’ test take?

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Luke Phelps

Derby County could have a new owner on the horizon, with American businessman Chris Kirchner becoming the front runner to take over at Pride Park.

Reports surfaced last night which linked Kirchner, 34, with a Derby County takeover.

Alan Nixon outed him as the front runner, and stated that the next step would be the infamous English Football League owners’ and directors’ test.

It’s standard procedure for any potential new owner of a club in the EFL. But the owners’ and directors’ test has come under scrutiny in recent seasons for its failings to spot certain owners and directors who have had bad intentions in football – see the previous owners of both Charlton Athletic and Wigan Athletic.

Nevertheless, we take a look at how long Kirchner’s EFL owners’ and directors’ test could take, and look into whether or not Derby County could have a new owner by the end of the year.

Charlton Athletic

The Addicks were relegated from the Championship in 2020 amid mass controversy. Matt Southall and Tahnoon Nimer came into the club and brought with them plenty of optimism following years of Roland Duchatalet’s reign.

But the pair would prove criminal – Southall especially. It eventually became clear that neither had good intentions for Charlton Athletic, but were solely interested in lining their own pockets.

Thomas Sandgaard is now the man at the helm and he’s brought some stability off the field. In August last year he told talkSPORT of his intentions to buy Charlton Athletic, and he said that he was hopeful that the deal could be completed within days.

Instead, it took a month before Sandgaard was confirmed as the club’s new owner. But reports from London News Online revealed that Sandgaard had passed the EFL’s owners’ and directors’ test a week prior to announcing that he was the club’s new owner, so in total the test took around three weeks.

Wigan Athletic

If Charlton’s case study wasn’t controversial enough, Wigan Athletic’s certainly is. Their demise is rightfully dubbed as one of the most heinous and under-spoken controversies the EFL has seen, centred around bets placed in the Philippines which backed Wigan Athletic to be relegated in the 2019/20 season.

New owners arrived at the club but a month later the Latics would be placed into administration, all but confirming their relegation into League One owing to a 12-point deduction.

Now under new ownership and vying for a return to the Championship, Wigan Athletic’s new owners were subject to EFL approval in mid-March this year, and were confirmed as the new owners 15 days later before the end of the month.

So these are just two recent cases of the EFL owners’ and directors’ test. Kirchner remains a prospective buyer but Nixon’s tweets from last night suggest that his potential takeover is quickly gathering speed, and with Kirchner having already provided proof of funds the next logical step in the EFL owners’ and directors’ test.

If all goes well, Derby County could have a new owner in place before the end of the year.