Derby County’s administrators have been told to show the English Football League how they intend to fund the club until the end of the season.
An EFL Board meeting resolved to try and bring clarity to the situation.
Although manager Wayne Rooney said he expected a preferred bidder to be named by the end of this week, but the latest situation meant it did not happen.
Former Newcastle owner Mike Ashley and a consortium including ex-Rams chairman Andy Appleby remain front-runners.
An EFL statement said: “Following its board meeting on Thursday 13 January, the EFL has written to the administrators reiterating that it needs confirmation as a matter of urgency of how they intend to trade whilst Derby County remains in administration including a funding plan that will enable the club to fulfil its fixture obligations until the end of the current season.
“Without this visibility the League is unable to approve any player signings or renew existing registrations and this position had been communicated to the club prior to yesterday’s meeting.”
Administrators Quantuma said they were not in a position to finalise how the club would be funded straight away, despite three parties having made offers, but they believed it would be finalised in the coming weeks.
“The joint administrators have an exit plan ready to implement and be approved by creditors and this is with a view to adjusting offers received to accommodate the EFL insolvency policy and their requirements to creditors,” a statement from Quantuma said.
“The difficulty and currently, in our view, the last remaining significant obstacle is to deal with certain claims that are very much disputed but which we are being advised by the EFL cannot be currently compromised notwithstanding statute says otherwise.
“Whilst we accept this is frustrating for all, none of the interested parties are able to progress matters further until such time that an agreement can be reached.
“We are urgently seeking clarification from the EFL as to why these disputed claims cannot be compromised.”
Jagielka leaves Pride Park
Without proof of funds, Derby are not allowed to sign players, so an extension to former England defender Phil Jagielka’s contract, which was due to run out on 17 January, cannot be completed and he has left the club.
It is understood Stoke are now close to signing him.
The 39-year-old made 21 appearances for The Rams and Rooney is understood to be furious at his departure.
“Talks had been ongoing with Jagielka to extend his stay at Pride Park Stadium in recent weeks but because of the restrictions the club is operating under, he has unfortunately been unable to put pen-to-paper,” said a club statement.
Hopes of a takeover deal being struck are hampered by outstanding legal cases against Derby involving Middlesbrough and Wycombe.
Should these eventually go against the club, any compensation would be regarded as a ‘football’ debt and need to be paid in full.
It is understood that neither potential bidder is willing to take Derby on without some clarity over this issue, and the EFL has suggested brokering a deal with Middlesbrough and Wycombe may be the best way forward.
Rams Trust wants ‘frank’ update
The only ways Derby’s administrators Quantuma can generate funds at present is either by selling players or if a preferred bidder expresses a willingness to put their money into the club.
Derby turned down what Rooney described as “ridiculous” bids for players earlier this week.
However, some Championship rivals are understood to be unhappy about offers being rejected – at the same time as Derby are negotiating with HMRC over a deal that will see in excess of £20m go unpaid, from an overall bill of £28m.
It is not known yet whether any party will be willing to pay non-football creditors 25% of the sums owed. Unless that happens, Derby will be deducted 15 points next season.
The Rams are bottom of the Championship on 11 points, a further 11 from safety.
Derby supporters group Rams Trust have demanded a “full, frank and immediate update” on the situation from the administrators.
“The time for supporters to be kept in the dark is over, especially with what seems like a dire threat to the very existence of Derby County FC,” the group said in a statement.