Everton vow to fight to ‘unjust’ Premier League points deduction

Everton have criticised the Premier League’s decision to issue the club with a 10-point deduction as punishment for breaching financial fair play rules, and have vowed to appeal against the decision.

The Premier League referred Everton to an independent commission in March for an alleged breach of its profitability and sustainability rules in the period ending in the 2021-22 season, and the league recommended a deduction of up to 12 points.

On Friday a Premier League statement said: “The Commission determined that Everton FC’s PSR 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. The Commission concluded that a sporting sanction in the form of a 10-point deduction should be imposed. That sanction has immediate effect.”

Everton reacted with anger at the news and rejected the finding that they failed to act in good faith during the Premier League’s investigation.

“Everton Football Club is both shocked and disappointed by the ruling of the Premier League’s Commission,” it said in a statement.

“The Club believes that the Commission has imposed a wholly disproportionate and unjust sporting sanction. The Club has already communicated its intention to appeal the decision to the Premier League. The appeal process will now commence and the Club’s case will be heard by an Appeal Board appointed pursuant to the Premier League’s rules in due course.

“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.

“Everton cannot comment on this matter any further until the appeal process has concluded.”

The sanction was put into immediate effect, meaning Everton dropped from 14th to 19th in the Premier League, and from 14 points to four.

Everton had announced a total loss of over £300m for the three-year period from 2019 to 2022, far above the £105m permitted. However, clubs were also permitted additional losses related to the Covid-19 pandemic and infrastructure costs are exempt, meaning there is a grey area in terms of interest payments on the costs of building Everton’s new stadium.

Everton contend that that is where the discrepancy lies and that it is a matter of the interpretation of accounting. In addition, Everton had a £200m pre-agreement for a naming rights deal for their new Bramley-Moore Dock stadium with USM, Alisher Usmanov’s company, which they had to abandon after Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Everton have willingly operated under a de facto salary cap since then. The Premier League provided the club with financial guidelines and Everton have a net profit of £28m from the last four transfer windows – the third largest, after Leicester and Brighton, in that time.

The Independent have previously reported that an extra layer of political pressure was exerted by the anticipated introduction of an independent football regulator – as laid out by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in the King’s Speech earlier this month – with other figures in the sport believing the Premier League is attempting to show the government it can regulate itself.

Eyes will now turn to Burnley, Leeds United and Leicester City, who had threatened to sue the Merseyside club for financial losses should they be found guilty of an FFP breach.