Could Sheffield Wednesday's points deduction be increased? Why next season? Your questions answered

The beginning of the end is in sight when it comes to Sheffield Wednesday’s misconduct arm-wrestle with the EFL after it was revealed that they would start the 2020/21 season on -12 points.

Saturday, 1st August 2020, 7:00 am

But there’s plenty still to come. A Wednesday statement last night confirmed that they are considering an appeal subject to the reasons given by the independent commission that heard their case and Charlton Athletic – relegated in 22nd place – said they too are considering legal action at the ‘irrational’ ruling that the punishment will be enacted next season, not this.

So why next season? When will we find out more about what went on in the hearing? Is it feasible that Wednesday could end up with a stricter punishment? When can that £60m sale be used when it comes to FFP?

We spoke to football finance expert Kieran Maguire, co-host of the Price of Football podcast, to answer some of the burning questions after last night’s news.

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Owls Chairman Dejphon Chansiri.

Why next season?

“I think there's an element of pragmatism here, because if it had been applied this season then Wednesday were almost certain to appeal. That appeal, given how long it has taken to get to this verdict could have dragged well into 2020/21 and nobody would truly know how the season was going to start given we have a conseteenered summer break.

“That will have been in the minds of the people making the decision. It all refers to a transaction made in 2018 so ultimately it looks as if they're going to be punished three years later at the end of the 2021 season.

“Clearly Charlton are using that as the basis of their appeal because they're going to be the club that are losing out here.”

How likely is a successful Charlton appeal?

“They're going to struggle. Ultimately the two parties involved were the EFL and Sheffield Wednesday FC. Wednesday have been found innocent of the utmost good faith breaches, which was to be expected because the charges against Chansiri, Redgate and Meire were dropped. This is in line with that.

“Charlton stand to lose £6-7m as a result of relegation to League One. If there is any opportunity and they think the costs are reasonable then they are going to try, whatever means possible to avoid that sanction themselves. They clearly feel they have been punished by this.”

It’s all madness, isn’t it?

“We've still got the Stevenage and Macclesfield issue, which is unknown, we've got the Wigan appeal which was heard on Friday, we've got no idea with regards to Derby and we've got no idea whether Aston Villa have even been charged or not with the sale of their ground.

“The only winners in this, once again, are our good friends in the legal profession and the accountants.”

We’re expecting the release of information about what happened during the hearing. When?

“That should be out in the next couple of weeks.

“It is an independent arbitration service, certainly when they've published information in relation to the cases involving the likes of Macclesfield, Stevanage, Birmingham City, they've tended to come out within a couple of weeks. Everyone will be pouring over those to see the nature of what's happened.

“Whether it is delayed subject to an appeals process depends on whether Sheffield Wednesday or the EFL feels that the release of the information would be prejudicial to an appeal. If that was the case they could put in for a deferral of the release until an appeal is heard.

“We don't know the nature of the information, if that information being released is likely to damage the charges I would expect a delay.”

The club’s accounts for the 2018/19 season were due last night. We’ve not seen anything. Should Wednesdayites be nervous?

“They may have been filed and it could be that Companies House are delaying, although it's worth noting that Sunderland's accounts were also due today and they went straight through.

“Derby's accounts were due at the end of June and we've not seen any sign of those, so it wouldn't be appropriate to single out Sheffield Wednesday.

“It could be that their accounts have been submitted. They may have been submitted late on Friday night, which then gives them the weekend and then Companies House have a few more days to process the data.

“It's only fair to give them a week or two. Anything beyond that is a shame. Sheffield Wednesday belongs to the fans and they deserve transparency.”

Could the points deduction, in theory, be increased?

“In theory, yes. It could be that both parties appeal. The EFL could appeal on the basis that they think the deduction should have been accelerated to this season and Sheffield Wednesday could appeal on the basis that they don't think they are worthy of a 12-point deduction in the first place.

“We have seen the EFL appeal quite a few judgements themselves because it's not the EFL that make the decision, it is an independent service. The EFL have appealed on two or three things in recent months.

“There's a current impasse with Macclesfield in that they've have a points deduction and the EFL believe it should be more severe.”

So in terms of FFP / P&S, when can that £60m be used?

“The statement appears to say that the punishment is because Wednesday did not sell the stadium in 2018, so therefore it would see logical to roll over that profit into 2019.

“It means that from a profit and sustainability point of view, they should be relatively clear on that set of accounts, but clearly we're waiting for those as well.”


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