Sheffield Wednesday have been deducted 12 points by an independent disciplinary panel for the 2020-21 season for breaking spending rules.
They breached rules by including the sale of their Hillsborough Stadium home in their 2017-18 accounts despite the ground being sold a year later.
Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough in South Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire its name derives from the River Sheaf which runs through it. With some southern suburbs annexed from Derbyshire, the city has grown from its largely industrial roots to encompass a wider economic base. The population of the City of Sheffield is 584,853 (mid-2019 est.) and it is one of the eight largest regional English cities that make up the Core Cities Group. Sheffield is the second-largest city in the Yorkshire and the Humber region and the third-largest English district by population. The metropolitan population of Sheffield is 1,569,000.The city is in the eastern foothills of the Pennines, and the valleys of the River Don and its four tributaries, the Loxley, the Porter Brook, the Rivelin and the Sheaf. Sixty-one per cent of Sheffield’s entire area is green space, and a third of the city lies within the Peak District national park. There are more than 250 parks, woodlands and gardens in the city, which is estimated to contain around 4.5 million trees.Sheffield played a crucial role in the Industrial Revolution, with many significant inventions and technologies developed in the city. In the 19th century, the city saw a huge expansion of its traditional cutlery trade, when stainless steel and crucible steel were developed locally, fuelling an almost tenfold increase in the population. Sheffield received its municipal charter in 1843, becoming the City of Sheffield in 1893. International competition in iron and steel caused a decline in these industries in the 1970s and 1980s, coinciding with the collapse of coal mining in the area.
The 21st century has seen extensive redevelopment in Sheffield, along with other British cities. Sheffield’s gross value added (GVA) has increased by 60% since 1997, standing at £11.3 billion in 2015. The economy has experienced steady growth averaging around 5% annually, greater than that of the broader region of Yorkshire and the Humber.The city has a long sporting heritage and is home to both the world’s oldest football club, Sheffield F.C., and the world’s oldest football ground, Sandygate. Games between the two professional clubs, Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday, are known as the Steel City derby. The city is also home to the World Snooker Championship and the Sheffield Steelers, the UK’s first professional ice hockey team.
Sheffield Wednesday deducted 12 points for 2020-21 season
Wednesday is the day of the week between Tuesday and Thursday. According to international standard ISO 8601 it is the third day of the week. In countries that have Friday as their holiday and in some Muslim countries, Wednesday would be the fifth day of the week. In countries that use the Sunday-first convention and in the Jewish Hebrew calendar Wednesday is defined as the fourth day of the week. The name is derived from Old English Wōdnesdæg and Middle English Wednesdei, “day of Woden”, reflecting the religion practiced by the Anglo-Saxons, a variation of the Norse god Odin. In some other languages, such as the French mercredi or Italian mercoledì, the day’s name is a calque of dies Mercurii “day of Mercury”.
Wednesday is in the middle of the common Western five-day workweek that starts on Monday and finishes on Friday.
But they were cleared of “breaching its duty of utmost good faith to the EFL by deliberately concealing information”.
The Owls say they are “extremely disappointed” by the points deduction.
Sheffield Wednesday deducted 12 points for 2020-21 season
If the points deduction had been imposed on the Yorkshire side for the recently completed 2019-20 season, they would have finished bottom of the Championship and been relegated.
It would also have rescued Charlton Athletic from an immediate return to League One. However, the relegation places in the second tier remain uncertain as Wigan Athletic appeal against their own 12-point deduction for going into administration.
Charlton have said they are considering a legal challenge.
“We fail to understand why the deduction will take place next season rather than the current season, which seems to be irrational, and are writing to the EFL to get an explanation of the justification,” the London club said in a statement.
The decision to deduct points next season for an historical breach of profitability and sustainability rules was reached by the independent panel, whereas Wigan’s point deduction was triggered by league rules relating to insolvency events.
Wednesday, who “welcome the decision that the commission cleared” them of “acting in bad faith”, said they will await written reasons from the disciplinary panel before considering any appeal.
It took eight months and 17 days for Sheffield Wednesday to learn of their punishment, having initially been charged with misconduct in November 2019.
The independent disciplinary commission did not conduct their “full hearing” until June, by which time the season was still going after a three-month hiatus brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier in July, Sheffield Wednesday boss Garry Monk said “it makes no sense” that they were still waiting on a verdict.
News of the 12-point penalty came nine days after the extended regular season finished.
Why sell the stadium to club’s owner?
The sale of Hillsborough Stadium for £60m and decision to include it in the financial year covering the 2017-18 campaign ensured Wednesday posted a pre-tax profit of £2.5m.
Without it, they would have reported a pre-tax loss of £35.4m and that would have followed on from deficits of £9.8m and £20.8m in the previous two seasons.
Under the EFL’s profitability and sustainability rules (previously known as financial fair play), Championship clubs are only allowed to lose £39m over a three-year period.
To avoid a points penalty, such as the one they have now been hit with, a significant sum of money needed to be made.
Wednesday are the first club to be punished for including the sale of their ground in their accounts, however, they were not the first to arouse suspicion for doing so as Derby County, Aston Villa and Reading have all been scrutinised for similar transactions.
Wednesday’s charge related specifically to “how and when” the sale of Hillsborough took place, rather than the sale of the stadium itself.