Sheffield United manager claims clubs ready to break money rules – calls for stricter sanctions

13 March 2019

Chris Wilder Sheffield United
Photo: Getty Images Chris Wilder, manager of Sheffield United, says that EFL need to impose stricter punishments on clubs who break financial rules

Sheffield United’s Chris Wilder claims that clubs in the Championship are prepared to break financial rules to get into the Premier League.

The Championship manager calls for governing bodies to impose stricter punishments to stop clubs gambling with their futures.

Peter Høyer ph@offthepitch.com

The EFL and other governing bodies need to impose stricter punishments on clubs who break financial rules, according to Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder, who has said clubs are willing to break rules in order to get into the Premier League.

"Everything goes back to the gambles that teams have, they are prepared to put everything on the line," Wilder said before the Tuesday fixture against Brentford, according to The Star.

"Clubs are prepared to break rules and break the FFP (financial fair play rules) to get to the Premier League,” Wilder added. 

The Championship table is extremely tense with only six points separating the sixth place, which qualifies for the play offs, and the 14th place. Leeds, Norwich and Sheffield United seem to be fighting for the direct Premier League promotion with just two points separating Leeds from Sheffield.  

Wilder’s statements follow several cases where clubs recently have suffered huge financial losses, which might end up in EFL embargos.  

For example, Birmingham City are to have a hearing over their breach of profit and sustainability rules in mid-March. Speculation has persisted that the Blues are to be punished for the size of their 2017/18 season wage bill. Birmingham City revealed a £37.5 million loss for the year to the end of June 2018, largely a result of their wage bill rising to almost £38 million from £22 million.

Another example is Aston Villa who recently admitted they have “significant challenges” to avoid a heavy fine or points deduction under EFL profit and sustainability regulations next year.

No sympathy  

With such sharp competition in the Championship and less than 10 rounds to go, the battle to get Premier League promotion intensifies. But this does not justify any rule breaking according to Wilder.

"Rules are there to be abided by but they get broken and I do shake my head at times, as to why those rules are put in there in the first place because they constantly get broken,” said Wilder, who is calling for stricter punishments and sees the rule breaking as desperation from the clubs to get to the Premier League.

Wilder also told The Star there seem to be no sanctions for breaking the rules, and he has no sympathy for that. According to Wilder, Sheffield United is not depending on getting the Premier League promotion, and he said that the club will not “see everyone having to be sold” if Sheffield miss going up.

The club have increased their wages by almost £7.5 million from 2017 to 2018. They paid about £16.5 million in wages in 2018 and had revenues of £20 million resulting in a financial loss of almost £1.9 million in 2018.