Sheffield Wednesday are looking to sue the English Football League as the club responds to a financial misconduct charge.
The EFL announced in November that the Owls breached multiple of the league organisation’s rules in relation to the sale of Hillsborough and Financial Fair Play.
A statement from the EFL read: “Following a formal investigation into financial information provided by Sheffield Wednesday in relation to the Club’s 2017/18 Profitability and Sustainability (P&S) submission, the EFL has today issued a number of charges relating to alleged breaches of EFL Rules.
“Earlier this year the EFL launched an investigation into the Club’s financial submission for the period ending July 2018 under the relevant P&S Rules following the completion of the sale of Hillsborough Stadium.
“The EFL has reviewed a large number of documents obtained from the Club as part of this process and concluded there is sufficient evidence to justify issuing charges of Misconduct. 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.
“All charges will be considered by an independent Disciplinary Commission and, if the charges are proven, the Commission can impose any of the sanctions set out in EFL Regulation 92.2.
“The EFL Board has previously agreed and communicated with all Championship Clubs a set of sanctioning guidelines, but the Commission, under EFL Regulations, has the ability to invoke a full range of sanctions should the breach be confirmed.
“The EFL continues to review the Club’s 2018/19 P&S submissions.
“As these matters are now subject to proceedings, the EFL will be making no further comment at this time.”
Sheffield Wednesday have released their statement defending themselves against the charges: “Sheffield Wednesday Football Club has today filed its response to the charges brought against it by the English Football League for alleged misconduct concerning the sale and leaseback of Hillsborough stadium and the inclusion of the profit on that sale in the Club’s 2017/18 accounts.
“The Club has informed the EFL that the charges are themselves unlawful and, without prejudice to that fact, are all denied by the Club and the other Respondents.
“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. The Club has also notified the EFL that it stands ready to bring a claim against the EFL to obtain compensation for its conduct.
“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 EFL is acting in breach of that binding legitimate expectation by retrospectively treating as misconduct that which it had itself previously authorised, and this makes the charges themselves “unlawful.
“The Club is accordingly bringing its own claim against the EFL to establish that it is acting unlawfully, as well as standing ready, if necessary, to vigorously defend the charges.
“The Club will make no further comment at this time.”
They could be handed a 21-point deduction which according to The Athletic is being considered ‘the likely outcome among some clubs, though others within the game believe that the EFL could even push for Wednesday to face automatic relegation from the Championship and a points deduction from the start of next season.’
Garry Monk’s side currently sit 9th in the Championship table with 29 points and two points off the playoffs.
The deduction would see them sent straight to the bottom of the table and four points behind Barnsley and eight points from safety.
After reading Sheffield Wednesday recent club statement, fans took to give their reaction – see those tweets on the next page.