The EFL’s surprise accusation of Sheffield Wednesday’s Dejphon Chansiri

The English Football League accused Sheffield Wednesday chairman, Dejphon Chansiri, of deliberately exaggerating ‘his difficulty in speaking English’ – an accusation dismissed by the Disciplinary Commission.

By Joe Crann
Monday, 17th August 2020, 12:12 pm

It was confirmed today that the club will be appealing the 12-point deduction handed down by the commission after being found guilty of breaching the EFL’s Profitability and Sustainability rules, with the written reasons providing plenty of insight into the decision that was made.

One such insight was the fact that the league accused SWFC’s owner of effectively lying about his proficiency in speaking English in an attempt to make it more difficult to ‘assess his credibility’, though the commission – based on what they have seen as evidence – completely dismissed it.

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In the written reasons regarding the decision, the commission explained, “DC is Thai by birth and gave his evidence from Thailand. He had the assistance of an interpreter. He does speak some English and indeed can understand a number of things said to him, but it seemed to us that he did need some assistance, particularly when issues became more complex or confused.

“We can at the outset say that we do not accept the contention of the EFL that he gave evidence in a manner "apparently deliberately designed to make it difficult to follow or to assess his credibility". Nor do we accept that "he appeared to exaggerate his difficulty in speaking English." He was plainly, in our view, at a disadvantage when dealing with lengthy, complicated questions and endeavouring to articulate an answer. His written English, to be deduced from various emails we have seen, is not always easy to understand.”

Furthermore, the commission also suggested in their written reasons regarding the sanction, that the EFL had not done enough research before bringing charges against the Owls’ good faith, saying that Charge 2 (of which the club were found not guilty) dragged things out.

They stated, “However, be that as it may, the situation in November 2019 is that Charge 1 and Charge 2 were preferred against the Club — and indeed the separate charges against the individuals, to which we referred in our decision, were also preferred. Whilst some points, which we have found had little intrinsic merit, were taken on the Club's behalf in the initial stages (leading to the arbitration that was eventually shelved), which would have prolonged the proceedings, it was abundantly plain to us that Charge 2 was the charge which substantially extended the proceedings.

Sheffield Wednesday's Dejphon Chansiri was accused of pretending to speak worse English than he actually does by the EFL. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

“In the 4 days we heard evidence, the bulk of that period was spent dealing with issues thrown up by Charge 2 rather than the accountancy and financial issues reflected in Charge 1. Whilst we do not say that Charge 2 was an unreasonable charge to bring on the prima facie evidence available, we expressed our concerns about the investigation (or, more accurately, the lack of investigation) into these serious allegations before the charge was preferred. It is at least possible that had those fuller investigations been carried out the charge would not have been pursued.”

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