Club decry ‘unjust sanction’ after record points deduction
interpretations is unjust. The decision has put into focus other Premier League investigations and how those clubs will be dealt with if found guilty. Manchester City have been charged with more than 100 alleged breaches of the rules by the Premier League but are yet to have a verdict amid legal wrangling on both sides. City have denied wrongdoing. Chelsea are under investigation for alleged breaches relating to the era of Roman Abramovich’s ownership. Everton were referred to the commission after an audit of Premier League clubs’ financial records for the 2021-22 season. Last year Burnley and Leeds wrote to the Premier League to question whether Everton had broken the rules after they recorded losses of £371.8m over the past three years. A Premier League statement said: “Following a five-day hearing last month, the commission determined that Everton FC’S PSR [profit and sustainability rules] calculation for the relevant period resulted in a loss of £124.5m, as contended by the Premier League, which exceeded the threshold of £105m permitted under the PSRS. The commission concluded that a sporting sanction in the form of a 10-point deduction should be imposed.” In August 2021 Everton had entered into an informal agreement with the Premier League over its expenditure which effectively put the club under a salary cap. The league had to sign off any potential transfers but each time warned Everton over their finances. Everton believe there are a number of mitigating factors, which they explained to the commission. One important issue Everton faced was having to pull out of a lucrative naming rights deal for the stadium with Alisher Usmanov’s holding company, USM, which was worth about £200m, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Everton argue that some loans they took were for their new stadium and should not count in the process because infrastructure projects sit outside PSR but the commission disagreed. The club is in the process of being taken over by 777 Partners after the owner, Farhad Moshiri, agreed to sell his 94% stake. There are built-in clauses relating to the purchase of the club which means the price of the sale will drop if the charges are upheld. Everton said in a statement: “The club believes that the commission has imposed a wholly disproportionate and unjust sporting sanction … Everton maintains that it has been open and transparent in the information it has provided to the Premier League and that it has always respected the integrity of the process. “The club does not recognise the finding that it failed to act with the utmost good faith and it does not understand this to have been an allegation made by the Premier League during the course of proceedings. Both the harshness and severity of the sanction imposed by the commission are neither a fair nor a reasonable reflection of the evidence submitted. “The club will also monitor with great interest the decisions made in any other cases concerning the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules.” The #Alltogethernow alliance of Everton supporter groups expressed “outrage at the disproportionate punishment” that “punishes those innocent of any wrongdoing – the fans”.