My understanding is that Birmingham were also under a soft embargo, but they broke it - hence the 9 point deduction (they bought in Pederson for over 2 mill and didn't sell anybody - previous season they bought 17 mill of players and sold 4 mill). If we breach FFP, but are seen to be trying to do the right thing, we're more likely to be hit with tighter transfer regulations rather than a point deduction.
The football league confirmed that the Pedersen transfer was NOT an aggravating factor in the points deduction. It was only for breaching the sustainability rules.
The EFL tried to prevent Birmingham registering him. They also said the points deduction considering 'all relevant factors'. It's hard to see how it did not play a part, although the rules may not allow additional points to be specifically deducted for wilfully breaching FFP. Obviously signing him increased the degree by which they broke the rules and therefore it would have impacted the deduction in some way.
I would imagine any club is potentially at risk given no one can be sure how their finances will play out this season. A good cup run, a poor league season, a sponsor going bust etc etc.
The panel decided that the signing of defender Kristian Pedersen in the summer of 2018 should "not be treated as an aggravating factor" in the case, which could have incurred a greater penalty for Birmingham.