Sheffield Wednesday owner Dejphon Chansiri has committed to funding the club for at least the next 12 months according to the club’s financial accounts for 2019 – but there is a ‘material uncertainty’ over the club’s future.
After a major delay to the publication of the figures for the financial year ending July 31, 2019, the club have finally filed their accounts and made them public.
The biggest shock is that the club made a £19 million profit for the year, but that was only because their controversial sale of Hillsborough to Chansiri’s ‘Sheffield 3’ company was moved to this particular set of accounts.
If not for that then Wednesday would have encountered a £19 million loss instead, and player wages continue to be a worry, with player and staff salaries totalling £36.4 million compared to the club’s turnover of £22.8 million.
One of the other more interesting points was that a ‘confidential settlement payment’ of £6,475,000 was reported, which is how much it cost Newcastle United to prize Steve Bruce and his two assistant coaches away from the club.
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There is another line or two which will worry some supporters and it’s in regards to Chansiri’s ownership status.
Chansiri has informed the auditors that he will be able to fund the club for at least the next year, but the fact that it is not legally-binding and that Wednesday as a whole rely on his funding to run have led to the auditors labelling their being a ‘material uncertainty’ that they will be able to run as normal should the Thai businessman go back on his word.
“The owner has confirmed that sufficient financial support will be made available to enable the Company to meet its obligations as they fall due for a period of not less than 12 months from the date of approval of the financial statements,” the accounts state.
“The director (Chansiri) acknowledges that this support is not legally binding and is dependent on the availability of funding from the owner.
“Therefore, a material uncertainty exists which may cast doubt over the company’s ability to continue as a going concern and, therefore it may be unable to realise its assets and discharge its liabilities in the normal course of business.”
For what its worth, that kind of message is in most club’s accounts, but the fact that there have been funding uncertainties in the past does not paint a good picture.
The next set of accounts – for the 2019/20 season – are due within the next few months, and who knows if Wednesday fans will get the same kind of delay as this but with COVID hitting last season, those figures may paint a grim picture.
Owls supporters will just have to trust Chansiri for now when he says he will fund the club until at least 2022, but who knows if that will be followed through on.