Sheffield Wednesday’s appeal against a 12-point deduction for breaking the English Football League’s spending rules could cost the Championship club up to £500,000, Yorkshire Live understands.
As things stand, the Owls will kick off the 2020/21 Championship season bottom of the table after an independent disciplinary commission (IDC) deemed the club to have not complied with Profitability and Sustainability regulations.
The three-man panel found Wednesday guilty of a misconduct charge for including the sale of their Hillsborough Stadium to chairman Dejphon Chansiri in their 2017/18 accounts when it was proved to have taken place afterwards. The commission outlined their reasons behind the decision in a 51-page document published on the EFL’s website.
In a strongly-worded statement on the club’s website, the Owls, who were cleared of a second charge of not acting in good faith, confirmed on Monday morning they will be appealing the ruling after the IDC released their full written reasons behind the decision.
The statement read: “Given the findings in respect of Charge 1 and the sanction imposed, the Club shall be appealing the Decision to an EFL League Arbitration Panel, both against the finding with respect to Charge 1 and the sanction.
“The Club believes its grounds of appeal to be strong. The Club will continue to take all appropriate steps to protect its interests, for the benefit of the Club and its supporters, and looks forward to the appeal being heard by the League Arbitration Panel at the earliest opportunity.
“While the Club does not set the timetable for the hearing of the appeal it considers it likely that it will take place in autumn 2020.”
Sports lawyer Kevin Carpenter, who specialises in disputes and regulatory matters, fears the appeal process will drag into next season.
He said: “They (both parties) shouldn’t really need to submit anymore evidence.
“In some appeals, other things do come to light which are then allowed, but I can’t see why that would happen in this case.
“It is really trying to show why the decision IDC has come to is unreasonable, so it should be dealt with fairly swiftly.”
It is likely Wednesday will have to fork out a significant six-figure sum on legal fees for their case to be heard by a League Arbitration Panel.
Wigan Athletic’s administrators estimated in July that the appeal process would cost the Lancashire club between £400,000 and £500,000 win or lose. The Latics, relegated from the Championship to League One after their 12-point deduction for entering administration was applied to last term, also had to pay the EFL’s fees, according to administrator Gerald Krasner.
An independent arbitration panel ruled against Wigan, who appealed against the punishment on the grounds of ‘force majeure’, meaning Barnsley stayed up.