Sheffield Wednesday begin fight against EFL misconduct charge

Sheffield Wednesday will spend the rest of the week contesting a Championship misconduct charge which could plunge them into a relegation battle.

Sheffield Wednesday owner Dejphon Chansiri . (Picture: George Wood/Getty Images)

The Owls’ case had been expected to be heard next month, but after complaints from clubs including Barnsley, it opened yesterday, and is expected to last for the rest of the week.

Wednesday used a legal loophole in league rules to sell Hillsborough to owner Dejphon Chansiri and loan it back, avoiding a loss which would have seen them fall foul of “profit and sustainability” rules. The issue is how the deal was completed, the £60m valuation and the timing, with Land Registry documents suggesting it only went through after the financial year it was recorded in.

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The case is unprecedented, but potential punishments range from a transfer embargo or fine to a points deduction of eight to 21 points if the club is found to have been deliberately obstructive or hidden information.

The 15th-placed Owls are eight points clear of the drop zone and eight outside the play-off places with eight matches left.

Relegation-threatened Barnsley threatened legal action if cases against the Owls, Derby County and Birmingham City were not resolved this season. What Wednesday insist is an “unlawful charge” was made in November.

Chansiri, former chief executive Katrien Meire and John Redgate, who left as finance director during the coronavirus lockdown, were cleared of individual charges in March.

Derby’s is a different charge, of “excess losses”, despite also involving selling their ground to a company their chairman owned.

Birmingham were docked nine points last season and reprimanded for misconduct this month after a league appeal.

Meanwhile, the Owls have released eight young players at the end of their contracts, including Jack Lee and Fraser Preston.

Winger Preston made four appearances last season and defender Lee started twice, in the League Cup, but neither featured in 2019-20. Preslav Borukov, Omar Damba, Jordan O’Brien, Jack Stobbs, Connor Kirby and Joe West have also been released.

Wednesday have taken up the option of extending Josh Render and Ben Hughes’s contracts by 12 months, and agreed a new deal with Ciaran Brennan.