Sheffield Wednesday: EFL ask the Owls for observations over HIllsborough sale

The English Football League are believed to have asked Sheffield Wednesday to explain why a £38 million profit for the “sale” of Hillsborough was detailed in their 2018 accounts when Land Registry documents date the purchase to almost 12 months later.

By Dom Howson
Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 6:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 7:09 pm
Sheffield Wednesday chairman Dejphon Chansiri
Sheffield Wednesday chairman Dejphon Chansiri

The Owls are among a number of clubs, including Derby County and Reading, under scrutiny for exploiting a loophole in the rules that has enabled them to buy and lease back their own ground to ensure they remain compliant with the EFL’s Profitability and Sustainability regulations.

But a report in The Times this evening has suggested resh concerns have emerged about the paperwork submitted by Wednesday.

The Owls sold their Hillsborough stadium for around £60m to owner Dejphon Chansiri, with the accounts filed by the club to Companies House for the period ending July 31 2018, stating the “profit on disposal of stadium” to be £38.061 million. The sale allowed Wednesday to record a pre-tax profit of £2.5m for the 2017/18 season.

However, the documents filed with the Land Registry say that the transaction for the purchase of Hillsborough by a company owned solely by Thai businessman Chansiri only took place three months ago. The document says: “The price stated to have been paid on 28 June 2019 for the land in this title was £60 million exclusive of VAT.”

The company that made the purchase, Sheffield 3 Limited, was not incorporated until June 21, 2019, and the only listed officer of the company is Chansiri.

A spokesman for the EFL 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.”

Wednesday have declined to comment.

Without the sale of the ground, the Owls would have posted a pre-tax loss of £35.4m and fallen foul of P&S rules, which stipulate clubs cannot exceed losses of £39m over a three-year period. Birmingham City were docked nine points for breaching the rules last season.

The EFL are already thought to have commissioned independent valuations of Pride Park and Hillsborough, with Middlesbrough then informing the EFL of their intention to sue for allegedly failing to properly enforce their P&S rules.

EFL clubs are due to meet to discuss P&S on Thursday, with the row between Middlesbrough, Derby County and the EFL expected to escalate.