The club, its supporters, and likely other Premier League teams dealing with similar issues as Everton, are all expressing immense disbelief. Everton has been given a sporting punishment of 10 points for violating rules regarding profitability and sustainability. The club has acknowledged the breach, but has also presented mitigating factors such as the stadium construction, accounting treatment of interest costs, and the effects of Covid-19 on the market while the club was still in its investment phase. Additionally, the handling of player X and its resulting economic impact are also being considered.
Fans of Everton are willing to acknowledge that during Farhad Moshiri’s time as owner, there was an abundance of money but a lack of sound judgement, effective strategy, and proper execution. His goal of creating a competitive team in the Premier League and his dedication to constructing a new stadium were in line with the league’s growth-focused approach that is highly valued and rewarded. In many ways, Moshiri’s aspirations epitomized the values of the Premier League.
Despite Everton’s poor execution, it is important to acknowledge that their performance was not just poor, but rather appalling. Additionally, it begs the question of whether it is fair to impose sporting sanctions on a club solely because of inadequate ownership and leadership, rather than intentional cheating or deception. It should be noted that the decision explicitly states that there were no acts of dishonesty involved.
The procedures of the commission have remained enigmatic, something that the Premier League must contemplate. This was a unique occurrence. The specific allegations against Everton were only revealed upon the final ruling. The steps and people involved were also kept anonymous. Is this truly the appropriate approach for the world’s most valuable and popular football league?
I would like to bring up three important ideas:
Bias – the media’s disclosure of a possible 12-point punishment during the trial. How can that not be biased? The report was factual, as it reflected the penalty sought by the Premier League.
Proportionality – how proportional is a 10-point penalty given the partial acceptance of some of the mitigating factors, but particularly the complexity of the case? More than 28,000 documents were included in the hearing bundle. This was not a simple case of dishonest dealings or a clear intent to cheat Everton’s competitors.
Is it not presumptuous to immediately impose a 10-point penalty as a sporting sanction? What would happen if a second commission, upon appeal, ruled in favor of Everton, either partially or entirely? Would this not compromise the integrity of the sport?
Each individual point raises enough concern to challenge the commission’s ruling. When considered together, they present a strong argument for it being overly severe or even unjust.
There has been a lot of discussion about how the Premier League handled the situation with the breakaway clubs and the European Super League. These clubs posed a threat to the Premier League and the entire football system. Was the punishment they received (£3.3m each) appropriate considering the potential consequences of their actions? Their plans were designed to benefit themselves and went against Premier League rule B.15, which requires utmost good faith.
Can you explain the difference between Everton’s violation and the resulting penalty? Specifically, paragraph 135 in the commission’s ruling discusses the unsuitability of a monetary penalty for a team that has a wealthy owner. Why was this standard not used for the breakaway clubs, all of which also have wealthy owners? Is there a lack of consistency in how punishments are handled?
Everton have been penalised for poor decision-making – poor governance playing a huge part. How ironic if the Premier League was, in turn, damaged, its reputation and integrity brought into question due to the poor decision and poor governance of this commission?
Paul Quinn is a supporter of Everton, as well as a writer and podcaster who contributes to the Observer’s fans’ network. He can also be found on TheEsk.org and on Twitter at @TheEsk.