Everton were hit with an immediate 10-point deduction on Friday after being found to be in breach of the Premier League’s financial regulations.
Premier League clubs are permitted losses of £105m over three years, but an independent commission found Everton’s losses in the period up to the 2021/22 season to be £124.5m.
As a result, the Toffees have been hit with a competition-record 10-point deduction, which sees them drop from 14th the 19th in the table, level on four points with bottom side Burnley and two points adrift of safety.
Why have Everton been given a points deduction?
In an official statement posted on their website, the Premier League confirmed Everton’s punishment has been served due to a breach of the league’s Profitability and Sustainability Rules (PSRs).
The statement read: “The Premier League issued a complaint against the Club and referred the case to an independent Commission earlier this year. During the proceedings, the Club admitted it was in breach of the PSRs for the period ending Season 2021/22 but the extent of the breach remained in dispute.
“Following a five-day hearing last month, 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 under the PSRs. The Commission concluded that a sporting sanction in the form of a 10-point deduction should be imposed. That sanction has immediate effect.
“Click here to read the independent Commission’s full written reasons.
“Click here to read a further decision by the Chair of the Commission, dated 9 May 2023, regarding applications from Leicester City FC, Burnley FC, Southampton FC, Leeds United FC and Nottingham Forest FC.
“Commissions are independent of the Premier League and member Clubs. The members of the Commission were appointed by the independent Chair of the Premier League Judicial Panel, in accordance with Premier League Rules W.19, W.20 and W.26.”
Everton are just the third club in the Premier League era to be given a points deduction. Middlesbrough were the first, losing three points for failing to fulfill a fixture against Blackburn in 1996/97, while Portsmouth were docked nine points after entering administration in March 2010. Both previous teams suffered relegation in those campaigns.
How have Everton responded and what happens next?
Everton wasted little time in offering a strong reaction to Friday’s verdict, quickly refuting the outcome of the investigation, insisting they were transparent with the Premier League about their financial dealings throughout, and promising to both appeal the decision and ‘monitor with great interest’ decisions made in other PRS cases. The latter point is most likely hinting at the cases currently being heard against Manchester City and Chelsea.
The full statement read: “Everton Football Club is both shocked and disappointed by the ruling of the Premier League’s commission.
“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.”
— Everton (@Everton) November 17, 2023
Everton interim chief executive Colin Chong also vowed that the club will be ‘standing up for Evertonians and our great club’ and that all concerned with the Toffees will be rallying together.
“Myself and everybody at the club are shocked and disappointed by the ruling of the Premier League commission. We believe the sanction is disproportionate and wholly unjust,” Chong said in a video posted across Everton’s social media channels.
“The club’s view is that the harshness and severity of this punishment are neither a fair nor a reasonable reflection of the evidence that was submitted to the commission. For that reason, the club intends to appeal the outcome before the Premier League Appeals Board.
“This is a sporting sanction that directly impacts supporters. The club, our players and staff and our fans will stick together in the face of what the club believes to be an unprecedented and disproportionate sanction.
“As we enter the next phase of this legal process, there is no further comment we can or will make. But rest assured, we will be standing up for Evertonians and our great club.”
The matter has also been further complicated by reports of possible legal action from Leeds United, Leicester City, Southampton and Burnley, who have all been relegated in recent years following close battles with Everton who, of course, have played in the top-flight continuously since 1954.
Everton have played 69 consecutive seasons in the English top-flight, Arsenal are the only club in the competition's history with a longer streak.
The club have confirmed they will appeal the 10-point deduction. 👇 https://t.co/aosTixLbBW
— Squawka (@Squawka) November 17, 2023
How has the football world reacted?
Friday’s verdict has understandably dominated the footballing conversation, with prominent pundits and ex-players from across the game voicing their opinion. The overwhelming majority appear to be in agreement that the punishment handed down to Everton is incredibly harsh given they have been found guilty of just one breach, and that the Premier League is setting a precedent that must be followed in future cases.
“I think it’s excessive. We’re talking about £20m – it is a small figure when you think of the Premier League now and transfer fees,” former Liverpool defender and boyhood Evertonian Jamie Carragher told Sky Sports. “There’s talk about other clubs being upset that Everton were buying players that they shouldn’t have done.
“But the fact they have been working with the Premier League over the last couple of years, I don’t understand why, over the last few transfer windows, the league didn’t say to Everton that they couldn’t bring in a certain player they wanted to?
“It just feels to me, to take points off clubs is really tough. That punishment has to be the last resort. You can have a transfer embargo, fine, especially for a club like Everton right now where they have spent over £20m.
“It feels excessive and I feel for Everton, especially what is going on with other clubs. There were certain Big Six clubs with what happened with the Super League where they threatened to leave the league, with a £22m fine spread between the six clubs.
“So when you think of that and compare it to with Everton being done with a ten-point points deduction. It puts them almost at the bottom of the league, I think it’s excessive.”
Former Everton striker and BBC presenter Gary Lineker wrote on X: “With Everton being docked 10 points it will be very interesting to see if other clubs are sanctioned.”
Legendary Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall — who won two league titles, two FA Cups and a European Cup Winners’ Cup with the Toffees between 1984 and 1995 — posed similar questions to former teammate Lineker, but did urge the club to accept the punishment and focus on pulling themselves back out of the relegation zone.
“It has been coming so it is no surprise. But at the end of the day, they knew it was coming and if they are doing Everton they are doing other clubs as well. Otherwise, it is discrimination against one club,” Neville told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“All it will do is galvanise the players, the manager and the fans into one, which is a good thing, but they must appeal as that is what everyone does.
“However, if I was them I would just take it and get it out of the way. They are playing well and the Premier League is not a great league from the bottom half down, so we have a chance of winning that little bit of a league. It sounds harsh and horrendous but if you broke the rules, you broke the rules – just suck it up.”
What does the punishment mean for Everton on the pitch?
Of course, the 10-point deduction plunges Everton back into the bottom three and into the relegation battle, having previously climbed to 14th and eight points clear of the bottom three.
— Squawka Live (@Squawka_Live) November 17, 2023
That being said, the Toffees are still only two points from safety and have been gathering momentum under Sean Dyche, recovering from three defeats in their opening three games to lose just three of their last 12 across all competitions — a run that has also seen them progress to the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup.
As expected, supporters are now rallying around their team once again and there is a feeling of confidence that Dyche can continue to guide the club to safety, and perhaps even inspire some silverware. After all, Everton are the only team in the Premier League era to have four points from their opening 12 games and still survive relegation, doing so in 1994/95; the year they also won the FA Cup.
However, the fact remains that the deduction has landed them back in serious trouble just as they were beginning to put the relegation fears of the last couple of seasons behind them. According to Opta, Everton’s chances of relegation have now jumped to 34.1% following the points deduction, compared to just 3.5% on Friday morning.
The only teams with a higher percentage are Burnley (80.6%), Sheffield United (78%) and Luton Town (70%).
Everton’s first game since the points deduction is at home to Manchester United a week on Sunday.