Sheffield Wednesday have threatened to take legal action against the English Football League (EFL) after the governing body charged the Owls with misconduct over the sale of their Hillsborough stadium to owner Dejphon Chansiri.
The sale helped Wednesday stay within the EFL profit and sustainability regulations that dictate Championship teams are permitted to lose a maximum of £39 million ($51 million) over three years.
Wednesday sold Hillsborough for £60 million (70.9 million euros)to a company owned by Chansiri, which helped them record a pre-tax profit of £2.5m for 2017-18.
Had the club not sold their ground they would have posted a pre-tax loss of £35.4m for the financial year covering the 2017-18 campaign.
After losing over £30 million in the two previous seasons, Wednesday would have been well in excess of the permitted spending threshold.
“The club has reserved all of its rights against the EFL and will take all such actions as are necessary to protect its rights and integrity, and those of its current and former officers, including in relation to inaccurate reporting,” Wednesday said in a statement.
Club statement #swfc
— Sheffield Wednesday (@swfc) December 4, 2019
“The club maintains that it consulted with the relevant executive officers of the EFL in connection with the stadium transaction and that it acted in good faith.
“The club has in its possession numerous emails, letters and other documents in which the EFL gave authorisation to the transaction, and on which authorisation the club understood it could rely.
“That authorisation gave rise in law to a legitimate expectation that the transaction would be accepted by the EFL, which is binding on the EFL.”
The sale of stadiums to owners by clubs in the Championship to avoid breaking the profit and sustainability rules has become a controversial topic.
Middlesbrough have reportedly threatened to sue the EFL for not clamping down on the manoeuvre, which has been also been used by Derby and Aston Villa in recent seasons.
Last month, the EFL concluded in a statement “there is sufficient evidence to justify issuing charges of misconduct” against Wednesday.
“The charges are in respect of a number of allegations regarding the process of how and when the stadium was sold and the inclusion of the profits in the 2017/18 accounts.”
If found guilty, Wednesday could face a severe points penalty, derailing their hopes of promotion this season.
They are ninth in the table, just two points off the playoff places.
Birmingham City were deducted nine points last season for breaching profitability and sustainability rules.