Sheffield Wednesday are not the only club to do it. For instance, Derby County, Reading and Aston Villa have all done it. The ‘it’ in question is to sell their ground to cover financial fair play shortfalls.
In somewhat of a finagling measure, the Owls and others have done what they have as a means of complying with strict profitability and sustainability rules brought in as part of the EFL’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.
These regulations, put forth to stop clubs over-reaching their means, mean that a Sky Bet Championship, such as Sheffield Wednesday, club is only allowed to make a £39million loss across three years with rich owners only allowed to bankroll a certain amount of that.
The BBC report that the South Yorkshire side sold the stadium for around £60million, a fee which allowed them to turn a profit for £2.5million for 2017-18. Without the sale of the ground, Wednesday would have posted a loss of around £35.4million for that period, a huge amount on the back of losses of £9.8million and £20.8million over the two preceding seasons.
Without the sale of Hillsborough, the Owls losses of around £70million over three seasons would have seen them fail the FFP regulations, overspending by nearly double. This led to Sheffield Wednesday being charged by the EFL for breaching financial rules, a charge which carries penalties that could have massive ramifications for them.
– A 21 point deduction considered likely by some clubs, others believe EFL could push for relegation
– @TheAthleticUK told the club warned former EFL chief Shaun Harvey about PnS problems and stadium sale https://t.co/EFKSnQtTeI
— Nancy Frostick (@nancyfrostick) December 4, 2019
Wednesday, according to The Athletic’s Nancy Frostrick (above), will contend that the EFL knew about the circumstances of the sale via the club informing then WFL chief Shaun Harvey of the issues at hand. Whatever punishment is meted out, it will hit the Owls hopes of pushing for promotion. Many will argue that the nine-point deduction suffered by Birmingham City for EFL infringements pales into insignificance against Sheffield Wednesday’s transgressions – hence their belief that a 21-point deduction/relegation is a more fitting punishment.