Sheffield Wednesday Football Club has today filed its response to the charges brought against it by the English Football League for alleged misconduct concerning the sale and leaseback of Hillsborough stadium and the inclusion of the profit on that sale in the Club’s 2017/18 accounts. The Club has informed the EFL that the charges are themselves unlawful and, without prejudice to that fact, are all denied by the Club and the other Respondents.
The Club has reserved all of its rights against the EFL and will take all such actions as are necessary to protect its rights and integrity, and those of its current and former officers, including in relation to inaccurate reporting. The Club has also notified the EFL that it stands ready to bring a claim against the EFL to obtain compensation for its conduct.
The Club maintains that it consulted with the relevant executive officers of the EFL in connection with the stadium transaction and that it acted in good faith. The Club has in its possession numerous emails, letters and other documents in which the EFL gave authorisation to the transaction, and on which authorisation the Club understood it could rely. That authorisation gave rise in law to a legitimate expectation that the transaction would be accepted by the EFL, which is binding on the EFL. The EFL is acting in breach of that binding legitimate expectation by retrospectively treating as misconduct that which it had itself previously authorised, and this makes the charges themselves unlawful. The Club is accordingly bringing its own claim against the EFL to establish that it is acting unlawfully, as well as standing ready, if necessary, to vigorously defend the charges.
The Club will make no further comment at this time.