Thai-owned Sheffield Wednesday docked 12 points

Thai-owned Sheffield Wednesday docked 12 points

Championship side's handling of stadium sale to owner breached rules, League says

Sheffield Wednesday owner Dejphon Chansiri cheers on his side during a Capital Cup match against Arsenal in October 2015. (Reuters file photo)
Sheffield Wednesday owner Dejphon Chansiri cheers on his side during a Capital Cup match against Arsenal in October 2015. (Reuters file photo)

LONDON: The Thai-owned football club Sheffield Wednesday will begin the 2020-21 season 12 points in the red for breaching profit and sustainability rules.

The English Football League (EFL) issued the ruling on Friday against the Championship side owned by Dejphon Chansiri, whose family is the major shareholder of Thai Union Group, the world’s largest canned tuna producer.

Wednesday were charged with misconduct by the league in November 2019 after the club sold the Hillsborough Stadium to Mr Dejphon in a bid to ensure they did not breach spending rules.

A hearing was held last month and the club was found guilty of having included profits from the sale in its financial statements for the period ending July 2018.

Wednesday sold the stadium to a company owned by Mr Dejphon for £60 million to help them record a pre-tax profit of £2.5 million for the 2017-18 season.

While the stadium sale was included in the 2018 accounts, the equity was not transferred until a year later, which led to the charge in November 2019.

“Sheffield Wednesday will receive a 12-point deduction for breaching the League’s Profitability and Sustainability Rules for the three-season reporting period ending with season 2017-18,” the EFL said in a statement.

“The sporting sanction will take effect in season 2020-21.”

Since the deduction applies next season, Wednesday will not be relegated to the third-tier League One. The club finished 16th this season — eight points above the relegation zone.

The EFL added that the club were not guilty of “deliberately concealing information” on the filings from the league.

Wednesday acknowledged the decision of the independent disciplinary commission and said it was “extremely disappointed” by the points deduction.

“The club will await the written reasons for the sanction and upon receipt will digest and consider the full detail with its legal advisers before making any further comment,” the statement said.

Charlton Athletic, who finished third from bottom and were relegated to League One on the final day of the campaign, questioned the decision to punish Wednesday next season with a points deduction and have threatened a legal challenge.

If the points deduction had been imposed on Wednesday for the 2019-20 campaign, the Sheffield club would have finished the season bottom of the Championship and Charlton would have ended up fourth from bottom and outside the relegation places.

“We fail to understand why the deduction will take place next season rather than the current season, which seems to be irrational, and are writing to the EFL to get an explanation of the justification,” Charlton said in a statement.

Mr Dejphon bought Sheffield Wednesday from former Portsmouth and Leicester City owner Milan Mandaric in 2014. 

He promised to take Wednesday back into the Premier League when he took over, and while the team has made the Championship play-offs twice during his tenure, it has struggled recently.

In 2018 Mr Dejphon told the fans he would put the club up for sale, saying he believed there were many interested buyers, but nothing has happened since then.

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