After surviving relegation from the English Football Championship in 2019/20 by eight points, Sheffield Wednesday might well have been looking ahead to next season with renewed optimism.
However, news that they will have to start the 2020/21 season with a 12-point deduction will hit like a hammer.
According to the Daily Mail, an independent disciplinary commission came to a verdict that the Owls breached profitability and sustainability rules regarding the £60m sale of their Hillsborough Stadium.
The Daily Mail go on to note that the club needed to answer a number of questions regarding how and when the stadium was actually sold, given that the same was included in the 2017-18 accounts but, apparently, wasn’t sold until the year after.
Fortunately, the points deduction hasn’t been issued for the season just finished because were that to be so, Wednesday would’ve been relegated into League One.
The EFL statement, cited in the Daily Mail, read: ‘The Club was charged in November 2019 and referred to an independent Disciplinary Commission, which conducted a full hearing at the end of June 2020, before finding the Club guilty based on the fact that the Club should not have included profits from the sale of Hillsborough Stadium in the Club’s financial statements for the period ending July 2018.
‘The Club was found not guilty of a further charge of breaching its duty of utmost good faith to the EFL by deliberately concealing information from the League in respect of filings made in respect of the Profitability and Sustainability Rules.’
As it stands, Wednesday have an almighty task ahead of them just to get back to a level playing field, as every other Championship team will begin the 2020/21 campaign with a 12-point advantage over them.