Dejphon Chansiri indicates major change in financial direction for Sheffield Wednesday
Sheffield Wednesday owner Dejphon Chansiri has indicated a major change in the financial direction at the club.
Speaking to the Sheffield Wednesday Supporter Engagement Panel, which is made up of fans from a number of supporter groups the Thai businessman said he wishes to make the club ‘self-sustainable’.
Chansiri has bankrolled the club well beyond its own turnover for many years and has spoken on a number of occasions as to the financial impact the Covid-19 crisis has had on Wednesday and other clubs.
Last season the club suffered a six-point deduction for a breach of financial rules, for which the owner took full responsibility in a statement released after relegation to League One.
The meeting was held in May, with minutes signed off by all parties and published Friday afternoon.
They read in part: “DC reiterated that cashflow concerns are affecting businesses all over the world, including football clubs and his own businesses. He outlined his intention for SWFC to be self-sustainable.
“DC said like most people he expected the pandemic situation to be over much sooner and did not anticipate that 15 months down the line, supporters would still be excluded from games. The severe loss of income has led to cashflow issues with revenue streams starved.
“DC said he is working as hard as possible to balance financial commitments every day and every month.”
To move Wednesday towards a self-sustainable model would represent something of a sea change at the club.
Speaking to The Star in December, Chansiri said he could not guarantee Wednesday wouldn’t face issues with Financial Fair Play in the future, indicating he felt it was ‘impossible’ for a club to push for promotion to the Premier League without breaching FFP rules.
Club accounts indicate the huge sums of money he has funnelled into the club since he took over in 2015.
“You have to understand and be realistic,” Chansiri said. “If you’re not going to push [for promotion], you’re not going to get an issue. If you push, you’re going to get an issue.
“If we don’t push, the fans are going to moan, ‘Oh you don’t have any ambition’. If we push of course we need to take risks.
“What do the fans want me to do, they want me to push but then they say, ‘Oh you can’t break FFP’. It is impossible. It’s just £13m [the FFP-permitted loss per year in the Championship], it’s impossible.
“Even when we don’t spend money in the past, we still lose a lot of money. If you spend even a little bit you can still break it.
“It is not easy because of FFP, if we keep [with]in FFP the fans are going to say ‘no ambition’.”
Running his eye over the club’s 2019/20 accounts, football finance expert Keiran Maguire made clear there had been a change in direction financially and that to reach a ‘break even’ position, efforts would have to continue to be made to reduce wage costs.
He said: “Clearly there has been something of a reset at the club, because the costs of the squad have fallen from £26m to £18m between 2019 and the end of the season in 2020.
“Chansiri’s investment in players had clearly been reassessed and he was clearly trying to cut back on costs.”