Sheffield Wednesday to face EFL hearing over ground sale in July

The hearing for Sheffield Wednesday’s Football League misconduct charge has been set for July, according to reports.

The Owls have had the case hanging over them, with the potential for a punishment which could have a big outcome on their season.

Whether they will learn their fate during the 2019-20 season or after it is unclear, with uncertainty around the progress of the coronavirus pandemic making it impossible yet to set a date for the resumption of football.

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Wednesday have been charged over the sale and lease-back of their Hillsborough stadium to owner Dejphon Chansiri. Such deals are an accepted way of circumventing the Football League’s profit and sustainability rules, but the focus is on how and when the £60m agreement was completed.

General view of the stadium ahead of the Sky Bet Championship match at Hillsborough, Sheffield. (Picture: PA)

Under the rules the valuation of the land has to be a fair one, and Land Registry documents appear to suggest the deal was not completed until around a year after it was accounted for, allowing the Championship club’s losses to come in below the £39m permitted over a three-year period.

In March Chansiri was cleared of individual charges, as were finance director John Redgate and former chief executive Katrien Meire.

The Owls have promised to vigorously defend themselves against what they see as an “unlawful” charge. The case will be heard by an independent commission.

It is unprecedented but the punishments potentially wide-ranging, from a points deduction of up to 21 points to a transfer embargo or fine. A nine-point deduction is thought most likely.

Ordinarily a deduction imposed beyond March would not apply until next season, but these are not normal times, so that remains to be seen.

Under normal circumstances, 15th-placed Sheffield Wednesday would have gone into the coronavirus break in mid-table obscurity but a nine-point deduction would draw them level on points with Charlton Athletic, who are in the relegation zone.

If the league is able to get up and running again this season, Garry Monk’s team will have nine matches to play.

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