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Nottingham Forest: Premier League 'punished' Reds for ambition, says ex-boss Mark Warburton

General view of Nottingham Forest's City Ground from over the River Trent
Nottingham Forest dropped into the Premier League relegation zone after the points deduction was imposed

Nottingham Forest have been "punished" by the Premier League for showing ambition following promotion, says former Reds boss Mark Warburton.

The Reds were docked four points on Monday for breaking profit and sustainability rules by £34.5m.

Clubs can lose £105m over three years, but Forest's maximum loss was set at £61m as they spent two years of the assessment period in the Championship.

"Here's a club that had a go, for want of a better term," Warburton said.

"There are teams that have come up, not really reacted, not strengthened the squad, taken the money and been immediately relegated," Warburton told BBC Radio Nottingham.

"They are obviously in a stronger financial position, but is that really what the Premier League money is for?"

Forest made a stunning Premier League return in 2022 after a 23-year top-flight absence.

Despite being bottom of the second division in September of the 2021-22 season, they were transformed into the most unlikely of Premier League-bound sides by Steve Cooper, who guided them to play-off final victory against Huddersfield.

The showpiece event at Wembley is often lauded as the most lucrative game in world football - and was said to be worth about £170m to Forest when they went up.

Their top-flight return prompted a spending spree, signing a British-record 22 new players that summer - while also agreeing five loan deals. Their net transfer spend over the 2022-23 season was £142.8m.

When hit with the points penalty this week, that dropped Forest into the relegation zone, the club said they were "extremely disappointed" with a decision they feel "raises issues of concern for all aspirant clubs".

Warburton, the former Rangers and Brentford boss who was in charge of Forest when Greek shipping magnate Evangelos Marinakis took ownership of the club in 2017, says he "understands Forest's frustrations and concerns".

"Forest have gone out, bought players, and they had to do that," he said.

"They had two years in the Championship to gain promotion and they had to spend to invest in the squad, to give themselves a real chance, a credible chance of surviving in the division.

"Forest fans will be delighted that Forest have shown that level of ambition and have strengthened the squad and spent the money.

"So I understand their frustrations. It must be very galling that they have done what they think is the right thing, and yet are being punished in this manner."