Premier League has opened 'Pandora's box' with Everton points deduction

By Sports Desk November 17, 2023

The Premier League has "opened Pandora's box" after Everton were deducted 10 points for breaching financial regulations.

That is the view of John Blain, the vice-chairman of the Everton Shareholders' Association and of Toffee TV.

Everton were hit with the largest points deduction in Premier League history on Friday, after being found guilty by an independent commission of breaching the competition's Profit and Sustainability rules.

The commission found that Everton had lost £124.5million over a three-year period, which is £19.5m over the £105m threshold.

Everton's punishment comes amid the backdrop of Manchester City facing 115 charges, while Chelsea are under investigation after reports detailed a series of payments, worth tens of millions, were made during the tenure of former owner Roman Abramovich. The deduction has taken Everton from 14th to 19th in the Premier League.

The Toffees have confirmed they will appeal the decision, and Blain believes the Premier League wanted a "show trial" in a bid to put off the installation of a government-backed independent regulator.

"A fair amount of this document is like a subjective VAR decision. In every place where it can't be proven, because the onus of proof is on Everton, then it's come down as bad for Everton," Blain told Stats Perform.

"The commission says: 'We agree with the Premier League that the requirement of punishment, deterrents, a vindication of complying clubs, and the protection of the integrity of the sport demand a sporting sample'. I think it's quite hilarious that it thinks it is protecting sporting integrity by doing this to this football club at this time, and the report itself says that Everton did not breach the rules deliberately.

"Yet we have other clubs, notably Manchester City, where there's no sign of the integrity being protected by bringing them to the courtroom. I think the Premier League has opened Pandora's Box – other clubs are in the tunnel, and at the end of the tunnel, you meet one of these commissions.

"It is interesting that when Everton were referred to an independent commission, the Premier League did not have any method whatsoever for calculating what the punishment would be, yet they sought to influence the commission by creating one as recently as August.

"The commission chose to ignore that guidance, but those rules that were put in place in August, should – and I suspect they won't – apply to clubs who have made huge losses.

"They appear to have opened Pandora's Box and they can't close it now. The next league game for Everton is at Goodison Park, and is against Manchester United, and I think people around the world will see what Everton fans think of this.

"We as fans are talking about the policy and process of the Premier League that we're objecting to – a fit-for-purpose sanction would not be 10 points. This will hang over Everton for a good chunk of the season, but also those clubs that think Everton getting deducted 10 points will stop them getting relegated. Those clubs won't know how many points they'll need to be safe until the end of the appeal process. It's crazy."

While Everton feel hard done by, Blain pointed out that Farhad Moshiri's leadership has left much to be desired.

He said: "Moshiri's legacy will be one of mismanagement and not making the board more effective. He has the good fortune that a new stadium, which will be seen across Europe when the Euros are here, will probably be the legacy that he quite likes.

"But the rest of it is not going to cover him in glory at all. The sad thing is the people who are culpable, who were running the business at the time of the transgressions, most notably the former chief executive [Denise Barrett-Baxendale] and chief financial officer [Grant Ingles], chose not to submit a witness statement to this commission.

"The chief executive of the Premier League made a witness statement, and the CFO of the Premier League made a statement – there was only one side of the story; that in itself is quite damning.

"If Everton were to be relegated because of this 10-point deduction, then clearly it would be the most damning of legacies. That the complete and utter failure to run the business probably resulted in the ultimate sanction of a founding member of the Premier League falling out of it for the first time ever."

Blain does, though, feel Sean Dyche's side are well-equipped to stay up despite the sanction.

"The team, and the management on the sporting side is in a far better place than it has been in many years," he said. "We will be "safe" from relegation and probably miss it by more points than in the last few years.

"We've been to the well as Everton fans and really suffered due to the ineptness of our sporting side, but it's getting sorted out. So perversely, this points deduction is not as emotive as it might have been if the policies and procedures of the Premier League were in place and they'd been able to take the club to court quicker.

"That's the thing that might upset other clubs, who all believe they would not have been relegated had this happened sooner. We will never know, and there's a fair amount of precedent inside the document that these are just normal business hurdles that you have to overcome."

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