Sheffield Wednesday will be deducted 12 points for the 2020-21 Sky Bet Championship season after being found guilty of breaching financial rules.
An independent disciplinary commission, appointed under English Football League regulations, deemed the Owls should not have included profits from the sale of Hillsborough stadium in statements for the period ending July 2018.
The South Yorkshire club said it is “extremely disappointed” with the verdict but welcomed the decision not to impose the penalty this term, which would have resulted in relegation to League One.
“An independent disciplinary commission, appointed under EFL regulations, has ruled that Sheffield Wednesday will receive a 12-point deduction for breaching the league’s profitability and sustainability rules for the three season reporting period ending with season 2017-18,” read an EFL statement.
“The sporting sanction will take effect in season 2020-21.”
Wednesday were found not guilty of breaching their “duty of utmost good faith to the EFL by deliberately concealing information”.
The Owls finished 16th in the Championship, eight points clear of the drop zone.
“Sheffield Wednesday acknowledges the decision of the independent disciplinary commission announced today,” read a club statement.
“The club is extremely disappointed that the commission has imposed a 12-point deduction to be applied next season and awaits the written reasons for this decision.
“The club welcomes the decision that the commission cleared Sheffield Wednesday of the charge of acting in bad faith in its dealings with the EFL. Further, the commission decided not to apply a 12-point deduction this season, thereby imposing relegation.”
Wednesday were initially charged in November 2019.
The club, owned by Thai businessman Dejphon Chansiri, intends to await written reasons for the sanction and “consider the full detail with its legal advisers” before deciding its next step.
Hillsborough was sold to a company owned by Chansiri for around £60million.
The EFL charge related to “how and when” the stadium deal was completed.
Without the sale, Wednesday would have posted a pre-tax loss of £35.4million for the financial year covering the 2017-18 campaign.
Had the Owls’ penalty been applied to the 2019-20 season, they would currently be facing relegation to the third tier alongside Wigan and Hull, with 22nd-placed Charlton surviving.
Wigan, who accumulated three more points than Garry Monk’s side over the course of the campaign, dropped into the bottom three on the final day after being deducted 12 points for entering administration.
Unlike Wednesday’s situation, EFL rules dictate a club entering administration is punished immediately, something Wigan’s ownership were aware of when that decision was made.
The Latics’ appeal against their sanction has been heard by an independent tribunal and they are awaiting the outcome.
The timeline of Wednesday’s appeal and punishment was determined by the independent disciplinary commission, not the EFL.