Sheffield Wednesday are fighting hard to stay within Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations, according to owner Dejphon Chansiri.
FFP rules state Championship clubs are permitted to make up to £13m losses a year. Indeed, second-tier teams are allowed total losses of £39 million over the course of 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons.
Should clubs fail to adhere to FFP rules, punishments can range from transfer embargoes to hefty fines.
Thai businessman Chansiri has invested heavily in the Owls’ first-team squad since officially taking over the Championship club in March 2015. Wednesday have twice broken their transfer record and their wage bill has sharply risen.
But despite Chansiri’s significant financial clout, the Owls have twice failed to secure promotion to the Premier League.
In a lengthy statement on the club’s website, Chansiri has defended their ticket, retail and corporate hospitality pricing strategy. Prices have risen, particularly with the club’s hospitality packages.
Chansiri said: “With any of our products - hospitality, ticketing, or retail - pricing must mirror the ambitions of our club. In Thailand I am a businessman first but at Sheffield Wednesday I think of our fans first, not business, and we have to get the balance right as we try to stay within the rules of FFP.
“Of course, we can go back to lower prices and less investment in the squad but if we wish to reach the Premier League, such a model is not practical. So we must invest more than our revenues like almost every club in this division aiming for promotion.
“I know that some supporters say they cannot afford some things and I understand. I would never ask a single supporter to spend even one penny on anything they cannot afford.
“All I ask of everyone who can afford is to help and support as much as possible. I would love to do this by myself and not ask anything of our fans but the FFP limits mean I cannot. I do not want to disturb the regulations so I have no choice, we must support and go together.
“Historically I know that shirts can be bought elsewhere for a cheaper price, but when I see our fans buying from our club I know it is because they wish to support. The same for tickets and every other area. This makes me feel good and makes me want to give everything I possibly can.
“That is the spirit that we need, the togetherness we must have, and I thank every single one of our fans for giving me the heart to support our lovely club.”
The club statement, released last night, described the Championship as the “most financially challenging division in the world”.
“With the constraints of FFP (P and S) hitting hard, pricing must be structured accordingly - together with our aims in mind - and supporters are assured that every penny generated is invested wholly back into the club,” it added.
“At the Steering Group meeting, corporate hospitality packages in particular were highlighted as having risen in cost, but it is important to consider that previously prices were not reflective of what was required for long term sustainability so making recent increases artificially high.
“This arm of the business yielded little profit, whilst on occasion even posting a loss after factoring in club costs accrued. This policy of low pricing was based on the rationale of unrealistic reduced revenues being more beneficial than no revenues. The business could not realistically sustain such a model so prices had to increase to help make our offerings competitive.”
Along with a host of senior Owls officials, Chansiri spent over five hours discussing FFP and various other topics at the Supporters’ Steering Group last week.