This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Sheffield Wednesday’s financial issues are in the headlines once again as a decision made by chairman Dejphon Chansiri is likely to land them a hefty points deduction, according to football finance expert Kieran Maguire.
On Thursday afternoon, the south Yorkshire club were charged by the EFL for financial misconduct surrounding their accounts for the 2017/18 season as the sale of Hillsborough for £60m appeared to offset their debts.
It is an allegation that the club intends to contest as no direct consequence has been revealed, but given the EFL’s previous dealings on similar matters, the Owls could soon be struck.
Maguire, a senior teacher in accountancy at the University of Liverpool, broke the complicated situation down in an interview with The Star, he said:
“Realistically there are four grades of sanction. There’s the ‘telling off’ of a club, but I don’t think that would appear to be compatible given what we saw happen to Birmingham City last season.
“Next would be something to do with a transfer embargo or squad sizes and the third range of sanction would be a points deduction.
“I stripped out the property sale and re-worked the losses made by Wednesday and looking at the tariff that the EFL announced, that would suggest that they would probably be heading for a 12-point penalty on the basis of the losses they’ve made.
“Potentially there could be a further points deduction for what are called ‘aggravating factors’ and those are, in theory limitless, but they could be brought if the EFL feel that there was a deliberate attempt to manipulate the financial statements to ensure compliance with FFP.”
Although the charge has brought no explicit punishment yet, you only have to look at last season to see what’s in store.
Garry Monk’s last club, Birmingham City, were handed a nine-point deduction in March, several months after the EFL found them guilty of breaking their profitability and sustainability rules.
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Chansiri’s decision here is even worse than that as he has effectively sold the ground to himself through the numerous companies he holds possession of in order to make it seem like the club weren’t actually in debt.
This is exposing a financial loophole out of the regulations so the EFL could well make an example of Wednesday and come down hard on them in the near future – Maguire predicts it will be a 12-point penalty at the very least, so there are worrying times to come.