Everton, of English men’s soccer’s top-tier Premier League, have launched an appeal against a decision to deduct 10 league points from them during the 2023-24 season for breaking financial rules.
The move by an independent commission to dock the club 10 points – the largest points penalty in Premier League history – was announced on November 17 and Everton have now formally lodged an appeal with the Premier League’s judicial panel.
An appeal board will now be appointed to judge the case, which will be heard and wrapped up before the end of the ongoing 2023-24 Premier League season in May.
The breach in question – which Everton have admitted – amounts to them breaking the Premier League’s Profitability and Sustainability Rules (PSR) during the period that ended with the 2021-22 season. In that period, Everton lost £124.5 million ($155.4 million), exceeding their loss limit allowed under those regulations by almost £20 million.
The points deduction has dropped Everton from 14th in the table to 19th, with the club now sitting inside the relegation zone.
The appeal panel will review the original ruling of the independent commission, involving looking at the process used and whether the 10-point penalty is fair or disproportionate.
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The independent commission, in its full report, claimed that the club was “less than frank” with the league regarding the PSR calculation relating to interest payments to be paid on its new stadium development at Bramley Moore Dock.
Everton believed that the interest payments should have been regarded as expenditure, a view contested by the Premier League, and also pointed out the loss of naming rights for its stadium resulting in the Russian invasion of Ukraine leading the government to veto potential investment.
While the Premier League did not allege Everton of dishonesty regarding the interest on the stadium, and the committee stated that “Everton did not consciously intend to circumvent the rules,” it added that it believed the club “failed to discharge the duty of utmost good faith," which increased culpability.
At the time, Everton said the 10-point penalty represented a “wholly disproportionate and unjust sporting sanction.”
In a statement confirming the appeal, the club said: “Both the harshness and severity of the sanction imposed are neither a fair nor a reasonable reflection of the evidence submitted."
Everton became only the third club in the history of the EPL to be handed a points deduction, after Middlesborough in 1997 and Portsmouth in 2010.
The club’s fans protested against the deduction before, during, and after the game against Manchester United at their Goodison Park home stadium on Sunday (November 26).
Various local politicians, including the mayors of both Manchester and Liverpool, have also raised concerns.
The process has increased speculation about what potential punishment fellow Premier League side Manchester City could face if found guilty of some or all of the 115 PSR-based charges laid against them by the league earlier this year.
It also remains to be seen what the points deduction and appeal will mean with regard to Everton's ongoing takeover process.
US-based private equity firm 777 Partners completed a deal to acquire the club in September but is still yet to receive the necessary regulatory approval from the Premier League, the Football Association, and the Financial Conduct Authority.