Why FFP could be ‘written off’ this season and how Sheffield Wednesday could be hurt by the coronavirus suspension more than other clubs

Sheffield Wednesday could feel the pinch of the coronavirus suspension of Championship matches more than most clubs, according to a leading football finance expert.

Sunday, 15th March 2020, 2:18 pm
Updated Sunday, 15th March 2020, 3:30 pm

As it stands football has been suspended entirely until April 4, with two matches due to be played at Hillsborough this week postponed. Play is set to resume on April 4, although experts have maintained it is unlikely football will be able to resume for several weeks beyond that date.

On the most recent available data, Wednesday are among the Championship clubs most reliant on matchday revenue, collecting over 37% of their annual income from matchdays.

The ongoing absence of that matchday revenue has caused widespread concern for clubs further down the league pyramid in particular, but University of Liverpool lecturer and Price of Football podcast co-host Kieran Maguire expressed worries for clubs in the Championship.

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Speaking to The Star Maguire said on Wednesday: “I think they will be hit significantly, as will all clubs in the Championship given the extent of the losses in that division.

“That [their matchday revenue] is testament to the club getting very good crowds. Wednesday are not in receipt of parachute payments, unlike the seven or eight clubs that are and are therefore generating a significant percentage of money from fans turning up on a week to week basis and allows the club to stay within the realm of FFP.”

The club remain locked in legal wranglings with the EFL over their 2017/18 accounts that could see them deducted points.

But Maguire believes that current circumstances mean that battle will be lowered in the league’s priority list – for now – and that clubs may not have to face FFP regulations for this current season.

Sheffield Wednesday owner Dejphon Chansiri holds aloft a club scarf. The Owls are facing several weeks before any matchday revenue is due.

This could, in theory, allow owner Dejphon Chansiri to cover any additional losses for 2019/20.

He said: “There is a strong chance that FFP regulations will essentially be written off this season, given the exceptional circumstances that football is having to deal with.

“Matchday revenue is a big part of any club's accounts and the fact is that with that taken away it may be that clubs have to bypass the existing rules as it were in order to get through this period.”