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Why Were Everton Hit with the Largest Points Deduction Penalty in Premier League History?

The sanction sandwiches the Toffees between Sheffield United and Burnley in the dreaded relegation zone.      

By Andrew Woodin
A fan arrives at the stadium prior to a Premier League match

While the Michigan Wolverines’ sign-stealing scandal under Jim Harbaugh’s leadership has been the talk of the town in American football, across the pond, a much different game of footy is embroiled in a much, much different kind of mess.

Sadly, Everton are the latest club in the English Premier League to be rocked by a debilitating penalty for breaching the league’s Profitability and Sustainability (PSR) rules. Here’s a look at just what went down with the Toffees.

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What did Everton do to break the Premier League’s PSR rules?

According to a statement, released by the English Premier League, Everton broke the PSR rules after they posted financial losses that surpassed the threshold laid out in Premier League guidelines.

“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 £124.5million, as contended by the Premier League, which exceeded the threshold of £105million permitted under the PSRs,” reads the full statement.

The Premier League takes PSR breaches very seriously. All clubs in the Premier League are assessed every year for their Profitability and Sustainability Rules conduct, and the league’s board have the power to investigate “any suspected or alleged breach of Premier League Rules.”

Ashley Young of Everton kicks the ball down the field

How did the Premier League punish Everton?

Following Everton admitting to the independent commission in proceedings early this year that the club had, indeed, violated PSR standards during the 2021-2022 season, the commission determined that the breach of conduct warranted a “sporting sanction in the form of a 10-point deduction” – the largest points penalty deduction to ever be handed down by the league.

The commission ripped Everton for its transfer business, citing the club’s efforts to stay out of the relegation zone as “recklessness that constitutes an aggravating factor.”

The massive penalty cripples Everton’s season, tanking the Toffees’ from a mediocre standing of 14th in the table to an abysmal 19th. While the brass at Goodison Park can appeal the decision, as it stands, Sean Dyche’s side is ahead of dead-last Burnley only by goal difference.  

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Doe Everton’s punishment affect other clubs?

The Daily Mail reports Leeds, Leicester City, Burnley – clubs that were all relegated in previous seasons while the Toffees stayed afloat in the Premier League – intend to sue Everton for £300 million in lost revenue.

In addition that legal tango, the spotlight on Everton’s violations now puts some heat squarely on Manchester City who, according to The Guardian, have been charged with more than 100 alleged rule breaches. No verdict has yet to be reached against the Citizens, but Pep Guardiola’s Treble winners aren’t the only league juggernaut that could be in hot water. The Guardian also reports Chelsea face an investigation into potential financial fair play violations dating back the the prior ownership regime of Roman Abramovich.

How have Everton responded?

In a statement released earlier Friday, Everton said they are both “shocked and disappointed” by the commission’s ruling and the subsequent 10-point punishment.

“The Club believes that the Commission has imposed a wholly disproportionate and unjust sporting sanction,” wrote Everton in their team statement. “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,” continued the statement. “The Club does not recognize 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.”

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