Sheffield Wednesday involved in fresh FFP report amid Middlesbrough and Derby County row

Sheffield Wednesday have reportedly been asked by the English Football League to explain a £38 million profit following the sale of Hillsborough Stadium.

Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 7:05 am
Hillsborough Stadium.
Hillsborough Stadium.

The Owls are one of several clubs who are under scrutiny for exploiting a financial loophole to comply with the EFL’s profit and sustainability rules, similar to the situation at Derby County after owner Mel Morris bought the Rams’ ground, Pride Park, with an agreement to lease it back.

And it has now been claimed, via a report in the Times, that Wednesday have been asked for clarification by the EFL, after the sale of Hillsborough was detailed in their 2018 accounts, yet Land Registry documents say the purchase was completed nearly 12 months later.

The report points out that accounts filed by Wednesday to Companies House for the period ending July 31, 2018, the “profit on disposal of the stadium” is stated to be £38.061million.

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However, it has also been claimed the documents filed with the Land Registry don’t match up, instead suggesting the purchase, to a company solely owned by Wednesday chairman Dejphon Chansiri, was completed on June 28, 2019

The reported £38million profit for the sale of Hillsborough meant Wednesday were able to record a pre-tax profit of £2.5million for 2017/18, allowing them to comfortably meet the EFL’s Financial Fair Play regulations.

EFL rules state that clubs cannot exceed losses of £39million over a three-year period, which is why Birmingham City were docked nine points for breaching the rules last season.

Chansiri has previously admitted the club had problems with the EFL’s financial rules after Wednesday filed losses of £20.8million in 2016/17.

The aforementioned report doesn’t necessarily mean Wednesday have broken the rules, though, and there has been plenty of debate about the stadium loophole.

Earlier this month it was reported that Middlesbrough were set to sue the EFL after they failed to punish Derby for a similar incident.

Rams owner Morris denied any wrongdoing, though, and claimed the club hadn’t broken any rules.

On the Wednesday incident, an EFL spokesperson said: “While the EFL does remain in dialogue with a number of its clubs regarding their Profitability and Sustainability submissions, it does not comment on individual cases.”