The Premier League denied an appeal from Nottingham Forest that now upholds the side’s four-point deduction. The club’s financial records indicated it exceeded its loss limit in its first season back in the Premier League. Nottingham Forest was only permitted to lose $77 million, per the Premier League’s regulations. However, major spending amounted to $318 million spent on transfers. As a result, the Premier League docked Forest four points as a violation of its Profitability and Sustainability rules.

On Tuesday, the league upheld that punishment. Initially, Forest accepted the penalty, but it aimed its appeal around reducing the size of the punishment. Previously, the Premier League charged Everton with a 10-point knock. Upon appeal, that punishment fell to six points. Nottingham Forest did not benefit from such a ruling from the Premier League.

Forest’s appeal centered around two factors. On one, the club claimed the Premier League did not factor in the sale of Brennan Johnson to Tottenham ahead of the 2023/24 season. Unfortunately for Forest, that sale happened in the new fiscal year for the Premier League. Therefore, the financial losses remained. The second argument for appeal was to distribute the points penalties across multiple seasons. In other words, Forest wanted to suspend some or all of the points deduction while it was in a relegation fight.

With the four-point penalty standing, there is added pressure on Forest for the remainder of the 2023/24 Premier League campaign. Having the points deduction overturned would have been enough to finalize the three teams going down at the end of the season. Currently, Forest is in 17th, three points above Luton Town for the last relegation spot. That hypothetical seven-point gap would have been enough to ensure safety for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side for top-flight soccer next season.

Premier League relegation fight is alive for Nottingham Forest after appeal

The big winners from Tuesday’s decision are Luton Town and to a lesser extent Burnley. Having confirmation that the Premier League survival race is certainly a boost to both teams. Even if they need Nottingham Forest to drop points effectively in both games because of goal differential, the pressure on Nottingham Forest will be high.

As things stand, all three clubs have two games remaining. Burnley trails Nottingham Forest by five points. Therefore, Vincent Kompany’s side needs to win both its games against Tottenham and Forest on the final matchday. At the same time, Burnley needs Forest to lose against Chelsea this coming weekend. While a draw would be good enough for the points argument, Burnley’s goal differential is far worse than Forest’s. Therefore, it is unlikely Burnley will stay up, but not impossible.

Luton Town has a better opportunity to retain Premier League status. As Luton trails Forest by just three points, again with a worse goal differential, four points from Forest mathematically guarantees it stays up. In other words, Luton needs Forest to drop points in both games while Luton wins against West Ham and Fulham.

Forest would have welcomed the overturning of its four-point penalty to ensure safety. Regardless, it remains the favorite out of the three clubs in limbo when it comes to staying in the Premier League.