Spiralling wage bill pushes Owls' losses to £21m

SHEFFIELD Wednesday's losses more than doubled to £20.765m last season on the back of a huge rise in the wage bill, the club's latest accounts have revealed.

The Owls missed out on promotion to the Premier League for a second year running in the play-offs, having lost to Huddersfield Town in the semi-finals.

Wednesday’s turnover for the 12 months to May 31, 2017, rose by a little under £1.4m to £23.377m on the back of increased attendances and the club’s catering operation being brought back in-house.

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But the spiralling wage bill, up from £17.129m in 2015-16 when head coach Carlos Carvalhal’s side were beaten by Hull City in the play-off final to £25.970m last term, ensured pre-tax losses rose significantly from the previous year’s level of £9.755m.

The latest financial figures also reveal that owner Dejphon Chansiri increased his loan to the club from £17.677m to £37.658m. The report does, though, state that the loan has “no set repayment or interest terms”, underlining the Thai businessman’s commitment to a club he bought from Milan Mandaric for £37.5m in February, 2015.

Chansiri also paid £1.2m to sponsor the club’s shirts and part of the stadium last term.

With the Owls having lost £4.483m in 2014-15, much of which was spent under the ownership of Mandaric, it means total pre-tax losses for the past three years stand at a little over £35m.

Financial Fair Play rules in the Football League state that clubs can lose up to £13m per season over a three-year period, though this includes a financial projection for the current financial year if the owner injects equity.

Among the players signed by Wednesday during the 12 months that saw the club finish fourth in the Championship, their highest placing since dropping out of the top flight in 2000, were Adam Reach, Steven Fletcher, Almen Abdi and David Jones.

Jordan Rhodes also joined on loan in January, 2017, before completing a permanent switch for around £8m from Middlesbrough last summer.

Average attendances for the period covered by the latest financial figures rose by a little under 5,000 to 27,306, nudging matchday receipts and associated turnover up to £16.835m. Wednesday’s other commercial activities rose by a little under £1m to £6.542m.