‘Championship club could go bust’ – sounds scary doesn’t it – Well that was what former Wigan Athletic chairman David Sharpe has said whilst speaking to the BBC.
He discussed the financial problems that Sheffield Wednesday and others have suffered as part of a investigation which described the second tier of English football as a ‘bubble waiting to burst’.
More and more clubs are having record losses showing up in their finances in a desperate attempt to secure Premier League football.
The Owls are currently waiting to hear whether they will face sanctions after being charged with misconduct by the EFL over the sale of their stadium, but say they will “vigorously defend” their position in relation to spending rules.
They were alleged to have used it to meet P&S rules that were introduced by the EFL from the 2016-17 season which allows the majority of clubs £39m in losses over three seasons. Limits after larger for a recently relegated teams from the Premier League.
Clubs that spend past their limit can face sanctions, punishment would be a transfer embargo or a points deduction last Birmingham City received last season.
5 Live’s analysis found that five Championship clubs were approaching or exceeding £39 million in 2017-18. They were promoted sides Wolves (-£57.2m), Fulham (-£45.2m) and Cardiff (-£39.3m) – though Fulham said to the BBC they hadn’t broken the three-year P&S limit, QPR (-£37.6m) and Birmingham (-£37.5m) also were the other clubs ranked up in terms of losses. QPR said theirs were high due to a £20m fine given by the EFL due to previous Financial Fair Play rules, and that is didn’t count towards the spending limit. Birmingham say they have worked to stick with the regulations. Wolves and Cardiff provided no comment.
Speaking to the BBC, former Latics chairman Sharpe said: “The Championship is not financially sustainable, it’s a bubble waiting to burst.
“It can’t continue if the model is just having enough billionaire owners to keep funding it – that’s a strange, crazy model because there are only so many people you can attract.
“There are Championship clubs chasing that Premier League dream and when the gamble doesn’t come off somebody has to foot the bill and if they can’t afford it, the club could end up in administration.
“It’s a real problem and it’s only going to get worse – thank God we are out.
“You can lose £39m over three years in the Championship but it’s clearly not stopping clubs – a points deduction is a slap on the wrist.”
The EFL told the BBC: “Club owners are fully aware of the current financial regulations in place and are cognisant of the risks that such an increase in outgoings can have on sustainability.
“Clubs, however, must be given the freedom and flexibility to strive for success within the parameters of the regulations.
“It should also be remembered that ‘operating profits’ are not the primary aim of most professional clubs, with owners opting to compete for success in what is an increasingly competitive marketplace.”
As we all remember, Bury entered administration and sadly dropped out of the EFL, and Bolton Wanderers also had serious financial problems, thankfully they were saved before their deadline.
Wednesday fans talked to BBC Radio 5 Live about their worries. Check out the video below…
‘At some point, football in this country has to ask itself whether it’s doing the right thing’
Has the #Championship become a ‘league of gamblers?’
— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) December 12, 2019
After reading up on the BBC investigation which claimed a ‘Championship club could go bust’, fans of various clubs gave their thoughts with some stating they were glad at the how their side were handling their finances – see those tweets on the next page.