Even the Mayor of Liverpool thinks Everton’s ten-point deduction for breaching financial rules is ‘ludicrous’ who, in a letter to the Premier League, calls for them to ‘not unfairly penalise the club’s players and supporters’ writes David Little, a Partner in our Corporate and Commercial department who increasingly handles Sports Law cases too.
Of all the sporting stories of 2023 this one takes the biscuit. The mayor of Liverpool, Steve Rotheram, has written to the Premier League to express his ‘deep concern and opposition’ to the decision to hand Everton with a 10-point deduction for breaching profit and sustainability rules.
Everton were referred to an independent commission in March for an alleged breach relating to 2021-22 and a hearing found that the club outspent financial guidelines and should be punished with a sporting sanction.
It has plunged manager Sean Dyche’s side to 19th in the table, above Burnley on goal difference alone, and the club immediately confirmed its intention to appeal against the decision, calling the sanction ‘wholly disproportionate and unjust’.
Steve Rotheram has a point. Here’s what he’s wrote: ‘I am writing to express my deep concern and opposition to today’s decision by the Premier League Panel to deduct 10 points from Everton Football Club,
“The sanction imposed is not only unprecedented but a wholly disproportionate one too. While I understand, and indeed support, the importance of maintaining discipline and upholding the integrity of the sport, it is crucial to ensure that any punitive measures are proportionate and just. I do not believe that this punishment fits the crime.
“The decision to deduct ten points from Everton is excessive considering the club’s willingness and proactivity in collaborating with the Premier League to ensure all dealings were FFP compliant when it was clear they were close to breaching the rules.
“There are a number of mitigating factors in Everton’s transgression in relation to debt ceilings that are in effect geo-political and therefore outside of their control.. As many people have pointed out, the punishment imposed appears severe for the charge in question and sets a new precedent. When compared with sanctions handed to other clubs for financial infringements it surpasses previous penalties.
“In 2010, when Portsmouth entered administration, a case of serious mismanagement, they were hit with only a 9 point penalty. For falling into administration a second time in three years, in 2012, they faced a 10 point deduction.
“The implication that Everton’s actions are somehow are more egregious is frankly, ludicrous. I completely support the club’s appeal and would urge you to take a more balanced approach and consider alternative forms of punishment that do not unfairly penalise the club’s players and supporters.
“As a founding member of both the Football League and Premier League, Everton are an important part of the fabric of English football. They deserve to be treated fairly, justly and with respect.”
Game, set and match (to confuse my sporting analogies).
This is an outrage.
I can’t stick Everton. But here’s a case/game we all need them to win.
David Little, is a Partner in the Corporate & Commercial team and also Head of Sports Law for the firm. If you would like to contact him please quote Ref CB433 on either 07968 027343 or 020 7631 4141 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The above is accurate as at 22 November 2023. The information above may be subject to change. The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case-by-case basis.