American businessman Chris Kirchner has withdrawn his offer to rescue Championship club Derby County.
The team, which is managed by former England and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, have been docked a total of 21 points after the club entered administration in September.
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Derby sit bottom of the league and are 18 points adrift from safety with 22 games played so far.
The club’s administrators have said the announcement of the preferred bidder is “imminent,” and Kirchner, the founder of shipping and logistics firm Slync.io who had bid for the club, has now withdrawn from consideration.
Kirchner said in a post on Twitter on Friday: “It is with real sadness that I can confirm I am withdrawing from the process to buy Derby County Football Club.
“First and foremost, I would like to apologise to the fans. As you know, I’ve been in talks with the administrators for about two months.
“Two weeks ago, I made a formal offer to buy the club. I believe I presented a very detailed, generous and ambitious long-term sustainable business plan. It included purchasing the stadium, future funding and maintaining the academy’s status. We improved that offer further today.
“I wanted to agree a deal that I thought was in the best interests of all parties but, unfortunately, the last 24 hours has proven that just isn’t possible. So it is with deep regret that I must now stand aside and let the administrators pursue their own course.”
Kirchner wrote to Derby supporters in October to inform them of his desire to take the club out of administration.