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English Football League v Sheffield Wednesday FC

June/August and October/November 2020

The decisions of the EFL Disciplinary Commission, on liability and on sanction, and of the League Arbitration Panel which dealt with the appeal, are published here, along with the appeal decision here.


I represented Sheffield Wednesday FC, instructed by Squire Patton Boggs, in arbitral and disciplinary proceedings, including an appeal, between the EFL and the Club relating to its sale of the Hillsborough stadium and the Championship Profit and Sustainability Rules.

The Club faced 2 disciplinary charges brought by the EFL, namely breaching the P&S rules for the 2017/18 season and failing to act in good faith in its dealings with the EFL concerning that sale.

The Disciplinary Commission (Chairman Sir David Foskett) found the first charge proved, on the basis that the stadium sale should not have been included in the Club’s 2017/18 accounts, although accepted that the transaction had been discussed with officers of the EFL, who had approved it subject to the Club’s auditors signing off on it, which they did.

The second charge, in respect of which the EFL alleged that the Club had deliberately concealed certain matters from the EFL in those discussions, was dismissed.

As to sanction, the EFL sought a deduction of 12 points in the 2019/20 season, which would have relegated Sheffield Wednesday from the Championship.  However the Disciplinary Commission imposed a deduction of 12 points in the 2020/21 season.

An appeal (Chairman Lord Dyson) against the Commission’s decision on the first charge was dismissed, but the Club’s appeal on sanction was allowed and the 2020/21 season points deduction halved, to 6 points.

Just a few examples of where the case has been featured:

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