Debt-ridden Owls pay over cash for children's hospital in city

SHEFFIELD Wednesday has confirmed it has paid money owing to the Sheffield Children's Hospital as the debt-ridden Owls continue to grapple with the demands of creditors.

The Yorkshire Post understands Wednesday approved a payment to the hospital's charity yesterday – the same day the club confirmed it would not be going into administration after a last-ditch bail-out from the Co-operative Bank.

Neither Wednesday nor the Sheffield Children's Hospital Charity would confirm how much money had been outstanding but the charity did say it has received a total of 30,000 relating to a deal which involves the club's shirt carrying the Children's Hospital logo.

The Owls, who yesterday received confirmation a winding up petition over unpaid tax had been withdrawn at the High Court, agreed to pay the charity 1 for every shirt sold up to the first 10,000 and 2 thereafter. The sponsorship proved popular, with fans buying significantly increased numbers of shirts when they were introduced last season.

Former Owls chairman Lee Strafford – who secured the sponsorship deal during his reign at Hillsborough – had raised concerns on a social networking site that the charity was out of pocket. He declined to comment further last night.

A significant number of businesses are owed money by Wednesday on top of the club's difficulty paying tax.

A winding up petition from HM Revenue and Customs was only seen off at the 11th hour after the club's bank, the Co-operative, provided emergency funding of 780,000.

But the club already owes around 300,000 in more recently unpaid tax and other businesses have outstanding bills running into tens of thousands of pounds. One was on the brink of taking enforcement action last month before a bill was eventually settled.