Everton and Financial Unfair Play

Credit: Royal Blue Mersey
Credit: Royal Blue Mersey

Everton has been deducted ten points thanks to an FFP infringement in an incident that we’re calling a classic example of Financial Unfair Play. 

Financial Fair Play (FFP) was brought in to level the playing field and help prevent clubs in the top flight from going out of business. However, since its introduction, there have been some significant unintended consequences and Everton have been the first Premier League club to face serious sanctions.

Do the Toffees deserve this, though? And what’s likely to happen off the back of this? We’ve got everything you need to know about Everton and FFP right here!

Everton and Financial Unfair Play

The International Break is usually very quiet for fans of club football, but Everton supporters will now be hoping it was a little quieter for them. The blue half of Merseyside were tipped to be in and around the relegation zone again this season, but Sean Dyche’s men had made a good start to the campaign.

However, a lot of that work has now been undone, as The Toffees have been docked 10 points and sent to joint-bottom of the Premier League as a result. The biggest question many people have though, is why?

Points deductions are usually as a result of going into administration and despite Everton’s chaos on and off the field in recent seasons, that hasn’t happened this time.

Everton were found guilty of exceeding the allowed loss of £105m over three seasons by £19.5m. In other words, they’re losing around £40m per season, as a result of spending massively with nothing to show for it in terms of silverware.

Had Everton qualified for Europe during this time period as they were aiming for, they likely wouldn’t be in this mess. In fact, Everton have been lucky to maintain their Premier League status, being embroiled in relegation scraps during the last two seasons.

We’ve already covered the mess Everton are in on and off the pitch, so if you want to read up on that in more detail, please read that article.

What’s likely to happen going forward?

Everton had stayed up by the skin of their teeth in the last few seasons and in a game of fine margins, there is definitely an argument to be made that Everton weren’t relegated in 2021-22 and 2022-23 because they broke FFP rules.

If Everton spent more within their means by not making as many signings, then they could’ve been relegated instead of one of the teams that did go down. The £19.5 million Everton overspent by is around that they spent on Dwight McNeil, their top scorer in the Premier League last season.

So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Southampton, Leicester City, Burnley and Leeds United have all threatened to take legal action against the Toffees over this dispute and they now have serious grounds to take Everton to court over the matter.

There is precedence for this as well, as wrongfully relegated Premier League clubs have been successfully compensated in the past. The most notable example of this is Sheffield United in 2006-07, who were paid £20m by West Ham United after it was confirmed that The Hammers fielded an illegal player in Carlos Tevez. 

So, while this issue won’t be sorted out quickly, there is every chance that Everton could be taken to the cleaners a couple years down the line. That is the last thing they’ll want as well, as they’ll be moving into their new stadium soon and need to save every penny they can to not fall foul of FFP again.

If Farhad Moshiri is as smart as he makes out to be, he should leave now before he has to pay out on eight or nine-figure lawsuits. Even for a billionaire, that is a lot of money to cough up.

While we still think that Everton will stay up this season (they’re only 2 points off safety at the time of writing), alarm bells will well and truly be ringing at Goodison Park.

We need to talk about Manchester City

You might be wondering why Manchester City are involved in Everton’s offences, and in a sense they’re not. However, the punishment for the charges made against City are yet to be decided. The Cityzens were charged with over 100 FFP offences but the matter is still in court.

If Everton were docked 10 points for one offence, albeit, a large one, then City could well be relegated from the Premier League. Chelsea too, are now under investigation for FFP breaches under Roman Abramovich’s time in West London.

So, will City and Chelsea be punished? Probably, but it’ll likely be a fine, which is about as effective as a chocolate kettle. Fining a club like Man City, who recently reported a record turnover of over £700m off the back of their treble last season, is not a sufficient punishment.

In theory, there should be no difference between Chelsea, Everton and Man City, they should all be held accountable for their actions and punished when they break the law.

However, City and Chelsea will be able to afford the best legal defence out there and it’ll be extremely difficult to enforce a meaningful punishment against them. In society as a whole, when you reach a level of wealth and power, you become all but above the law. That is not right, but that’s the reality of the world we live in.

The other difference is that Chelsea and City are two of the Premier League’s “Rich Seven” and they’re two of the Premier League’s biggest products as a result. People from around the world tune in to watch their games and the TV rights for the English top flight receive a boost as a result. 

By contrast, nobody will miss Everton if they get relegated. Yes, The Toffees have been in the top flight for over 70 years now, but they haven’t been anything more than a mid table side for the last three decades. When it comes to selling the product of the Premier League, they will happily sell Everton down the river, but their top assets must be protected at all costs.

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