Ten points lost for Everton and at least 10 new headaches for the English Premier League.
There has been a swift and dramatic fallout after Everton was found guilty of breaching financial fair play rules and handed the biggest sanction in the history of the competition.
The deduction plunged Sean Dyche’s side into the relegation zone on a total of just four points after 12 matches.
Everton said they were “shocked and disappointed by the ruling”, announcing their intention to appeal, but there’s now bigger concerns over what the decision could mean for giants Manchester City and Chelsea.
What it means for Man City, Chelsea
Stefan Borson, a lawyer who has advised City, believes the decision sets an ominous precedent.
“10 points for Everton feels harsh for a straightforward FFP breach to me. But reinforces that sanctions against City (if proven) and now Chelsea (if charged and admitted on the off-books payments) will be potentially relegation inducing,” he tweeted.
“One thing is for sure, given the scale of this sporting sanction, Chelsea’s calculus (in my opinion) that they could breach PL P&S and just take a fine as a cost of doing business, must be in urgent and immediate reconsideration.
“The January window may be interesting. Even in the best case, they can no longer rely on being able to convince an Independent Commission to accept their Covid and Sanctions allowances as exceptional adjustments (to the extent that was the plan).”
In February, after City were charged with 115 breaches of the Premier League’s financial rules across a nine-year span, Borson forecast relegation as a possibility. “Alarmist or not, the sheer extent of the PL charges are at a level that IF found proven, must lead to relegation,” he tweeted.
In a statement released after their penalty, Everton said they would monitor “with great interest” the decisions made in other cases concerning financial rules.
Leeds, Leicester, Burnley to sue
The now 19th-ranked club is also facing legal threats from three other clubs.
Leeds and Leicester – who were relegated from the Premier League last season after Everton survived in 17th place by two points – and Burnley – which believes Everton’s spending breached financial rules the previous season when they were relegated – are reportedly joining forces to sue the Toffees.
Mail Sport reported senior figures at the three clubs held talks in the wake of the Everton ruling to “affirm their plans to sue”.
The Premier League referred Everton, who have posted losses for five consecutive years, to an independent commission in March for an alleged breach of its profitability and sustainability rules (PSRs).
Clubs are allowed to lose a maximum £105 million over a three-year period or face sanctions.
“The club admitted it was in breach of the PSRs for the period ending season 2021/22 but the extent of the breach remained in dispute,” the Premier League said in a statement on Friday.
“Following a five-day hearing last month, the commission determined that Everton FC’s PSR calculation for the relevant period resulted in a loss of £124.5 million, as contended by the Premier League, which exceeded the threshold of £105 million permitted under the PSRs.
“The commission concluded that a sporting sanction in the form of a 10-point deduction should be imposed. That sanction has immediate effect.” The commission was blunt about the situation in its full written reasons.
“The position that Everton finds itself in is of its own making,” it said. “It is Everton’s responsibility to ensure that it complies with the PSR regime. The excess over the threshold is significant. The consequence is that Everton’s culpability is great.”
But Everton said the punishment was “wholly disproportionate and unjust”. “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 said in a statement.
“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.” Everton great Neville Southall said the team, who have won three of their past five league games, have the quality to survive.
“All we’ve got to do is galvanise the players, the manager and the fans into one, which will be a good thing for them,” he told the BBC.
“The Premier League isn’t a great league from the bottom half down so they’ve got half a chance of winning that half of the league.”
The punishment comes at a time of upheaval at the club.
In September, owner Farhad Moshiri agreed a deal with US investment firm 777 Partners for his 94 per cent shareholding. Prior to Friday’s points deduction, the takeover was reportedly on course to be completed by next month.
Everton are currently building a new 53,000-capacity stadium, preparing to leave their Goodison Park ground.
Only two other clubs have received points deductions in Premier League history. Middlesbrough were deducted three points for failing to fulfil a fixture against Blackburn during the 1996/97 season, while in 2010 Portsmouth were deducted nine points after going into administration.
Both clubs were unable to avoid relegation.
Nine-time English champions Everton have been a continuous presence in the top flight since 1954 and have never been relegated from the Premier League.
But they only avoided the drop by two points last season and have spent years in the shadow of city rivals Liverpool, last winning a trophy in 1995.
– with AFP
Originally published as Manchester City, Chelsea facing relegation after Premier League bombshell