Everton supporters launched a GoFundMe page on Friday, to raise cash for banners protesting the decision to dock the club 10 points. In just two hours it had raised £10,000. And little wonder.

The stunning lack of proportionality displayed by the Premier League — an organisation which imposed no sanction whatsoever on the so-called ‘Big Six’ for their European Super League conniving and hit Portsmouth with a lesser sanction than this for going into administration in 2010 — is only a part of the travesty.

The fundamental scandal resides in the fact that Everton have cooperated with the Premier League — virtually to the point of prostrating themselves — in the past two years. Informing them of intentions to buy a player, outlining their rationale, asking if the league are comfortable with that, in what has been a transparent demonstration of their attempt to comply with profit and sustainability rules (PSR).

The club’s net spend across the past four transfer windows has been zero. That’s zero. At a club who in that period have waged relegation battles and faced the opprobrium of fans understandably demanding a better quality of football. In the final reckoning, Everton overspent by a little less than £20million — Championship players change hands for similar money — and yet are now dumped to second bottom of the Premier League and told their ‘culpability is great’.

Everton have suffered the hammer blow of a 10-point deduction for breaching financial rules

Toffees manager Sean Dyche has seen his side drop down from 14th to 19th place in the table

Toffees manager Sean Dyche has seen his side drop down from 14th to 19th place in the table

The club’s seven years under owner Farhad Moshiri will not be looked back on with affection

The club’s seven years under owner Farhad Moshiri will not be looked back on with affection 

The PSR rules are bewildering, even to those of us who have charted attempts to engender sustainability in the game across the past decade — watching Manchester City being fined £49m for inflating the value of Abu Dhabi sponsorship deals in 2014.

Until 2021, a club’s spending on capital projects, such as stadiums or training grounds, was not part of the PSR calculation. The logic was this outlay was wise investment, not risky, unsustainable spending by some fly-by-night, seeking on-pitch success in the here and now.

Yet from 2022, as Everton were paying out heavily for a new stadium from which the Premier League and the city of Liverpool will benefit, that spend did count against them. The goalposts changed.

The club’s seven years with the maniacal Farhad Moshiri at the wheel are not ones that will be looked back on with affection. The shadow of Alisher Usmanov, his business partner and collaborator, will always be a stain on the club’s history. But the British government’s sanctioning of Usmanov, removing the £10m annual income Everton took from a £200m sponsorship deal with his holding company, USM, is still a mitigating factor.

A cool, rational assessment of Everton’s balance sheet would accept that. But this is a Premier League intent on making an example of a club, in a pre-emptive strike against the independent regulation which was a part of the King’s Speech only last week. Sustainability rules are a force for good, designed to prevent wild, unfettered spending by owners. Or rank cheating by owners who inflate the value of sponsorship deals. But the policing of that regime needs intelligence and nuance. It does not take an Everton fan to see this is a club which has showed a fundamental respect for the system and the competition they play in.

Everton’s transparency takes us a very long way from the legal battle Manchester City have engaged in since the Premier League charged them with 115 breaches of FFP over a nine-year period from 2009.

Everton came clean, which is unlike Man City, who have 115 charges hanging over them 

City's charges refer to a nine-year period from 2009 (pictured - City owner Sheikh Mansour)

City’s charges refer to a nine-year period from 2009 (pictured – City owner Sheikh Mansour) 

So impossible has it been to extract the necessary documents from City that the Premier League went to court last year and launched an arbitration process to get them. If Everton’s one breach warrants a 10-point deduction, what of City’s 100, if they are convicted? Football is watching.

Don’t be surprised if the fury felt by those of an Everton persuasion fortifies the club. There’s talk of booing the Premier League anthem and a boycott of the Fair Play handshake. The club now waits to see if any of the relegated clubs go after them for damages after this judgement. No lawyers’ letters have been received yet. It will be a dismal day if a relegated club stoops so low.

Everton will also reflect with some agony on the negotiating process which took Richarlison, one of their few great playing assets, to Spurs within the last accounting year, to help in the struggle for financial sustainability. The price was £60m and Bill Kenwright, the club’s late chairman, who had wanted £80m, was incandescent. Daniel Levy had capitalised on Everton’s plight, he felt. Some within the club were sanguine, considering the price decent enough. That lost £20m cost Everton 10 points yesterday.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Daily Mail

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