READING are under a soft transfer embargo - where they must get the green light by the EFL to make new signings.
The Royals are in breach of profit and sustainability rules due to overspending in the last three years.
They have agreed a plan with the EFL until the end of June where they hope to sell a number of players this month before bringing in new faces in July.
But a soft embargo means the Berkshire club could technically buy players now so long as the EFL ratify the deal.
The protocol, less punitive than a traditional transfer embargo, is understood to be in place at other Championship clubs too with Sheffield Wednesday believed to be among them.
It is designed to keep clubs’ finances from spiralling out of control - and avoid the kind of cash crisis that saw Birmingham slapped with a nine-point deduction in March.
They are looking to offload the likes of Marc McNulty, Adrian Popa and David Meyler this month.
Unwanted first-team players have been told they can report back for pre-season a week later than the rest and will train with the Under-23s when they do, if they have not been sold by then.
Sources believe Sheffield Wednesday may also be under a soft transfer embargo for failing to submit their accounts on time.
Championship clubs must send their records for the previous financial year to the EFL by March 1.
And Wednesday were unable to confirm whether they had met that deadline when contacted by SunSport.
On Companies House, the Owls' 2017-18 accounts are now two months overdue.
And that is despite Wednesday moving their year-end date back from May 31 to July 31 to bide themselves more time.
The Owls were under an embargo from April to August last year after breaching the EFL's profitability and sustainability regulations.
And earlier this year, their owner Dejphon Chansiri warned they could face sanctions again if their financial problems could not be solved.