Tuesday saw the Owls begin their legal battle with the EFL over breaching financial rules, but how many points could Sheffield Wednesday be deducted?
The hearing between the Championship side and league organisation was brought forward by a month amid concerns from rival clubs, most vocally Barnsley.
Sheffield Wednesday strenuously deny the charge over breaching Profitability and Sustainability rules and because of the complexity of the case, it is likely the hearing will last for the rest of the week.
The charge relates to the sale of the club’s Hillsborough stadium to Chansiri for £60m in the 2017/18 season.
Wednesday have said they believe the charge to be “unlawful” and challenged the league’s decision.
The dispute has been going on since November 2019, and if the club are found guilty, the potential punishment ranges from a points deduction to a transfer embargo or fine.
It will be an independent commission that will impose it if at all, although they can also choose when to punishment, although reports claim it will be before the end of the season.
Great to speak with @KieranMaguire regarding Sheffield Wednesday’s case. Here’s a Q&A with him, done earlier this afternoon, on the EFL case including timescales, points deductions and the huge cost of relegation #swfc https://t.co/C8rnVa7ljM
— Ricky Charlesworth (@Ricky_C90) June 23, 2020
So how many points could Sheffield Wednesday be deducted?
Finance guru Kieran Maguire said in a Q&A on Yorkshire Post: “There is a tariff for points deductions which is linked to the amount of Financial Fair Play limits of £39million loss over three years.
“So that part is actually relatively easy to calculate if we know what the fair value of Hillsborough is.
“That element of the charge should be able to be calculated with a degree of certainty once they establish the ground is worth X.
“For all we know there’s no reason to say it’s not worth the £60m that was paid for it.
“I’m not a surveyor. A surveyor did value it at that value.
“In respect of potentially going up to 21 points, this is where it gets a bit vague.
“The rules say that there are aggravating and mitigating circumstances which can increase the deduction by a further nine points.
“So if there’s evidence that Wednesday were not helping the EFL with enquiries then the panel might decide to give an addition penalty.
“If you look at Birmingham’s case, because they reported themselves when they realised they’d signed a player when they shouldn’t have done, their points deduction was reduced.
“It’s a bit like a judge in a court case, they will have a broad tariff that can be increased or decreased such as ‘has the person turned themselves in’ etc.
“So it’s up to 12 points in respect of FFP, and it’s up to a further nine points in terms of how far Wednesday have assisted with the enquiry.
“A total of 21 points is the worst-case scenario.”
Garry Monk’s men are currently 12th in the Championship table, 14 points above the relegation zone.
Barnsley have already written to the EFL saying they will consider legal action if they are relegated and the charges have not been concluded – the EFL declined to comment on the matter.
Barnsley’s letter read: “Our perspective has alarmed us to the fact that rule adherence and proper governance of violations is appallingly worse here in England than counterparts in France, Belgium and Switzerland.
“A key element of La Liga’s large revenue growth in the last five years is its strict observance of relegation when rules are broken (including unpaid player wages, transfer fees, filing of timely financial statements, and unbalanced or unfunded budgets). How can anyone use the phrase ‘sporting integrity’ or the word ‘fair’ in any relegation scenario if the games aren’t played?”
“This is a scenario that will not be passively accepted,” the letter continued. “Two to three clubs pending punishments from EFL charges could change the current status of the Championship table.”
Barnsley’s co-owner Paul Conway last week explained his grievance is heightened by a feeling other clubs were not sticking to financial rules when his side were relegated in 2018.
“Relegation to League One cost us about £7million in revenue,” said Conway. “If something like that happens again, we’ll make a claim and we think we’ll have a strong case. We’re not asking for a change in the rules, we’re asking for the rules to be followed.”