Everton face possible censure for alleged "tapping up" of Marco Silva while he was still manager of Watford last year.
According to newspaper reports, the Premier League has launched an independent inquiry at the Hornets' request into the Toffees' approach to Silva following the sacking of Ronald Koeman in October 2017 which could result in penalties as extreme as a points deduction.
The Hertfordshire club insist that they rebuffed "illegal" overtures to the Portuguese for his services, including rejecting compensation offers as high as £15m, and have complained to the league about the destabilising effect it had on their subsequent form.
Watford went on a winless run of 11 Premier League games before Silva, the latest in a succession of short-lived managerial appointments at Vicarage Road, was dismissed in January and replaced by Javi Gracia. Silva was eventually hired as Koeman's long-term successor at Goodison Park in May.
According to the reports, the investigation will try to ascertain whether Everton's pursuit of Silva contravened the rules and it may order high-placed figures at Goodison to produce phone records, including majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri and members of the Board of Directors, to an independent QC who was recently appointed to the case.
The two clubs met in April in an attempt to thrash out their differences as part of the Premier League's efforts to mediate a resolution where Watford are said to have received assurances that Everton would not follow up their interest in Silva after the 2017-18 season ended.
A follow-up meeting planned for July where it was the League's hope that a financial compensation deal could be agreed and that outcome is deemed by The Telegraph to be the most likely outcome, "despite claims that [Watford] want to see Everton punished".
Reader Comments (70)
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1 Posted 14/09/2018 at 03:18:14
It will be interesting to see how 'unbiased' the enquiry turns out to be.
2 Posted 14/09/2018 at 05:20:25
Roll on Sunday, I'm really bored now.
3 Posted 14/09/2018 at 05:40:56
Later Watford dismissed Silva and some months later again Everton employed him. The question then is did Everton speak to him after being asked not to by Watford and did this in any way affect his performance at Watford and was that just coincidental.
As for insisting on seeing phone records, I'm sorry, you only run a football competition. Everton should make it known that any judgement against them will be strongly contested in Court.
4 Posted 14/09/2018 at 06:24:08
"I'm sorry, you only run a football competition." — I thought that too, but was quite shocked when I started scanning the Premier League Handbook — all 610 pages of it.
What did we used to be told? Read, mark, and inwardly digest!!!
5 Posted 14/09/2018 at 06:26:05
6 Posted 14/09/2018 at 06:26:56
7 Posted 14/09/2018 at 06:30:16
We offered good money for a man who had been there a matter of months, the fact things went south for them after we went elsewhere is not our fault.
Hell if someone comes in for their man now, if he stays will they throw their toys out the pram when their 100% record goes?
8 Posted 14/09/2018 at 07:04:11
9 Posted 14/09/2018 at 07:13:46
Are we so amateurish that we cannot make an approach as others do? Or are we dictated to by a governing body who want to be seen as having teeth but daren't upset the top tier? We are big enough to be a target but not big enough to upset.
The hypocrisy is mind-numbing... laughable... but, once again, expect the worst from an organisation who do not have the spine to take on Chelsea, Man City or Liverpool, because they NEVER tap up anyone — do they! (Remember Moyes?)
10 Posted 14/09/2018 at 07:16:56
11 Posted 14/09/2018 at 07:54:44
Meanwhile, across the park, those lovable reds begin world domination by tapping up Gerbil Van Dijk with no punishment at all.
12 Posted 14/09/2018 at 08:00:48
Go back to when Rooney burst onto the scene and how he was openly touted to move to a bigger club "for the good of the English game" and the media also played its part when Moyes slunk off to Man Utd.
I can also remember the media collectively nodding its head and saying "When Sir Alex gets on the phone, you cannot say No."
I can also remember Lineker acting all coy on the Wogan show with Venables when asked if he was going to Barcelona. This has been going on for years where Everton are concerned.
13 Posted 14/09/2018 at 08:02:21
I wonder whether we have any suitable candidates amongst us?
14 Posted 14/09/2018 at 08:21:33
Moyes had agreed to become their manager while he was still in charge at Everton.
15 Posted 14/09/2018 at 08:53:13
Either way, it is potentially very serious and I assume we just wait for the verdict, and then decide what to do. Doesn't feel like it will end soon.
16 Posted 14/09/2018 at 09:07:21
I have total faith in the Football League to act in a fair and proportionate manner .
So we'll probably be relegated to the Scottish Third Division.
17 Posted 14/09/2018 at 09:09:17
Knowing our luck, we'll be automatically relegated, deducted 500 points and fined £100m to put us back in our place.
Meanwhile, the RS thugs who planned the terrorist attack on the Man City bus are walking around Scot-free while Merseyside fucking Police continue with their “ongoing investigations”.
18 Posted 14/09/2018 at 09:17:04
On topic - I can't see this going anywhere and someone is wasting a lot of people's time. Unless something extremely dubious has gone on behind the scenes but in the general scheme of things these days there seems to be little mileage.
You up yet, Mr Ferns?
19 Posted 14/09/2018 at 09:25:09
20 Posted 14/09/2018 at 09:27:18
A question to any TWers who are lawyers. Under what authority can the telephone records be produced (RIPA)?
Wouldn't this be construed as ‘phishing'?
Christine (#9), you are right in one respect that we are (were) seen as a soft touch by the authorities. However, George Graham was made an example for something that all managers were up to!
Hopefully the new regime will show its teeth.
Unless the said independent QC draws a line under this, it will drag on for years IMO.
21 Posted 14/09/2018 at 09:28:00
I'm ignorant of precedent here, so would be interested to know a number of things:
Is this QC-led inquiry as a result of a Watford complaint to the Premier League (about an illegal approach to Silva)?
Have any other clubs previously complained to the Premier League about such illegal approaches?
In those cases, what process did the Premier League initiate (eg, a QC-led inquiry)?
And what were the outcomes?
22 Posted 14/09/2018 at 09:35:50
It remains the ONLY time a punishment has been handed out for that offence, yet it continues to happen every game without any further retrospective action. If there is a fair and proper investigation into this, I'll show my arse in Burton's window.
23 Posted 14/09/2018 at 09:38:27
I'd expect a large fine at worst. Hopefully.
24 Posted 14/09/2018 at 09:47:47
25 Posted 14/09/2018 at 09:55:50
If we had started the season well and this happened, we would all be baying for blood.
26 Posted 14/09/2018 at 10:00:02
27 Posted 14/09/2018 at 10:19:23
28 Posted 14/09/2018 at 10:20:27
29 Posted 14/09/2018 at 10:25:55
The highest profile proven case of tapping up to date was the Ashley Cole from Arsenal to Chelsea case in 2005. Chelsea received a £100k fine and a suspended three points deduction.
I imagine we would, if found guilty, expect a similar punishment, albeit a lot heavier fine, probably running into millions, and a suspended points deduction.
30 Posted 14/09/2018 at 10:33:57
31 Posted 14/09/2018 at 10:35:19
Liverpool tap up the latest Southampton player every six months, Virgil van Dijk was a ten times more valuable deal and Liverpool get a slap on the wrist and a don't do it again. We get a QC-led enquiry with the threat of a points deduction hanging over the club all season.
The real inquiry needs to be into the Premier League's shameless double standards.
32 Posted 14/09/2018 at 10:41:38
33 Posted 14/09/2018 at 10:54:03
Far be it for me to suggest any names, but from what little knowledge I have of the legal process, we certainly need someone in that particular 'Zone' of defending hopeless cases, taking statements and arranging bail etc.
It seems that we are in the "Dock' once more — first Kings, now Bramley-Moore... and who knows, the Old Bailey.
No, John, I would not wish to proffer any candidates for that very important job; indeed, if a candidate were to emerge and be successful, he could find his image being projected around Goodison Park for years to come.
His approach would need to be clinical, well presented and easy to follow. On the other hand, if he has the skills to bullshit, we could even get off scot-free.
Would you know anyone suitable for such a massive job, someone with inside knowledge of the perpetrators of this heinous crime??
34 Posted 14/09/2018 at 11:16:34
Liverpool admit to tapping up VD and nothing happens, even though Southampton were furious.
Serious double standards.
35 Posted 14/09/2018 at 12:12:34
They seem intent on applying a couple of Italian proverbs on vengeance:
"Revenge a 100 years old still has its milk teeth"
"Wait time and place for your revenge, for it is never well done in a hurry."
They seemingly wish to disrupt our season in the same way they perceive we disrupted theirs, last season.
The report says the findings won't be concluded until 2019, without saying which month.
Best just to ignore it until some final decision is declared.
36 Posted 14/09/2018 at 12:20:22
What we don't need representing our case is someone who snipes needlessly at fellow members of the bar without presenting a counter-argument.
I rest my case, m'lud.
37 Posted 14/09/2018 at 12:37:37
38 Posted 14/09/2018 at 12:38:36
In the USA, companies have constitutional rights (think of them as being equivalent to human rights). Everton use certain company names so they are a legal company (ie, not sole trader) and not an individual. An individual (ie, Moshiri, Silva... others) as well as footballers 'may' have a legal personality (a company, ie Limited by incorporation – some protection to limit liability). So Moshiri can make commercial transactions in his own name (individual transaction) or make commercial transactions as a company (ie, Ltd etc). Managers, Footballers, as legal companies or individuals, can do the same.
Order of Disclosure:
Under civil procedure rules (CPR), each party (individual or limited incorporate company) are expected to make disclosure of all material (relevant evidence) at the beginning of a hearing. It is the judge who decides if any evidence is inadmissible (can't be used as evidence for the hearing). It is usually about whether there is a public interest for the disclosure of telephone records, for instance. A company cannot claim right to a private life in the UK but could in the USA; an individual in the UK, however, could claim 'right to a private life'.
ADR (alternative dispute resolution) is not the law any more than Islamic tribunals are the law. ADR (mediation) will seek to find a remedy for the companies instead of an expensive court case. Tribunals or ADR, I believe, do not have to follow the normal court rules (CPR).
The courts give companies some freedom to regulate themselves to an extent, insofar as the courts interpret commercial terms based on the ordinary practice of those companies (legal entities or personalities).
I think Everton should argue that tapping up managers is commercial practice – lots of Premier League clubs do it. It would be disproportionate to treat Everton differently if other clubs did the same but are not sanctioned in the way Everton were (if they were to lose points or fined).
Commercial law — 'malicious prosecution:
Everton could claim torts (compensation for wrongs) in terms of malicious prosecution, ie, Watford allegedly blaming Everton for taking Silva albeit there is no direct evidence (res ipsa loquitur — 'evidence speaks for itself' principle in tort) that Silva would have performed any better for Watford even if he were to have stayed at Watford (foreseeability principle). It would be malicious prosecution (court or related action, ie Premier League complaints or reporting) where the action taken was basically for spite and not any genuine complaint.
Everton (allegedly) offered Watford up to £15 million compensation (even though there was no case proved against Everton). May be this is the world of multimillionaire or billionaire remedies... to avoid paying QCs stupid money. In terms of contract breaches, £15 million would likely have been feasible – in tort law, the opponent cannot usually claim for pure economic loss (money for money's sake) because it is highly speculative.
Everton FC Company Ltd are subject to the Company Act 2006 and so must follow all the laws in the UK.
39 Posted 14/09/2018 at 12:38:40
40 Posted 14/09/2018 at 12:39:09
Aka Tommy Smith.
41 Posted 14/09/2018 at 12:49:51
Now at the time, I contacted the Premier League, because I'm an extremely bitter Blue, to say "I've just witnessed a Manchester City Player, Robert Fowler, openly confess on TV to being tapped up by the Liverpool Manager, Rafa Benitez. Can you please advise if this will be looked into as this is an illegal approach?"
This was 2006, and I'm still waiting for a reply. I'll keep you posted if they reply.
42 Posted 14/09/2018 at 13:01:50
I expect it will be a situation where they appear to give us a big slap on the wrist but really brush it under the table unless there is proper evidence that we approached Silva directly at any point before he was fired.
43 Posted 14/09/2018 at 13:05:01
In reality, the Premier League are not going to investigate circumstantial information say unless Robbie Fowler himself were to come forward and give evidence. But, why would he?
44 Posted 14/09/2018 at 13:07:19
This will not be a court case. It is a simple arbitration and the Premier League are hiring a QC only because it sounds good.
Watford will present their case, Everton will defend it. The tribunal will make a ruling and then it's up to the parties to accept it or not.
If Everton lose, we will appeal, and it'll go to CAS, then after that up through the courts proper.
As for demanding phone records, they cannot insist. The police are not involved, there are no powers to seize them. Instead, the tribunal will simply draw an inference for any failure to comply with disclosure requests.
There is a precedent here though from FIFA. After the World Cup bidding fiasco, Russia and England were investigated. We gave full disclosure and lo and behold FIFA found some evidence of very minor infringements because we did not doctor the evidence and dealt with things above board.
Russia meanwhile said their computers were all destroyed and disposed of and so they had no records for FIFA to look into. FIFA said that was okay, and let them off.
Moral of the story: Everton need to have a big midnight bonfire and shredding session down at the Pier Head (like off that Tom Cruise film, The Client).
This is all a sham. The Pozzos are just after money.
45 Posted 14/09/2018 at 13:09:23
You heard it here first...
46 Posted 14/09/2018 at 13:19:50
47 Posted 14/09/2018 at 13:24:05
I read somewhere that the Pozzos / Watford have already given up the right to compensation so there's no money in this for them.
I'd like you to use your contacts so that you can get involved in the case coz I'm bloody sure we'd come out of it with points added! So, my learned friend, get it sorted! :-)
48 Posted 14/09/2018 at 13:24:12
49 Posted 14/09/2018 at 13:24:29
50 Posted 14/09/2018 at 13:26:09
51 Posted 14/09/2018 at 13:29:50
I know all about public law as I help families oppose or revoke 'forced' child adoption orders, based on public law.
Some people are worried about Brexit whereas the lower social class worry about having the state – the social workers, the council authorities (local authorities) – in generations of their family's life. The so-called 'secret' courts have that power... an ex-barrister or judge. I know what a QC is alright. One uses posh words and the other has a diluted view of family rights in the free democratic UK.
nb: I was making a point not for a debate. I am limited on my posts so I cannot, and really cannot be arsed commenting any further on this post.
52 Posted 14/09/2018 at 13:50:59
53 Posted 14/09/2018 at 14:03:19
In the case of Virgil van Dijk, it appears Southampton and Liverpool were able to settle the matter amongst themselves. Even though Man Utd tapped up Moyes, Everton did not file a complaint either. The FA is not to blame here.
54 Posted 14/09/2018 at 14:09:34
QCs are certainly not the best advocates. You go on at length about class in other posts. QCs come overwhelmingly from a set few schools. It's about having the right tie. Sure, they'll give the silk to someone deserving now and again, but most of the ones I see are terrible. They just have the right accent and the right credentials in terms of family and friends.
As for police powers, you're barking up the wrong tree. The police will not be involved in this, I can assure you. 0% chance of police seizing any phone records. It's all done with adverse inferences anyway.
55 Posted 14/09/2018 at 14:13:17
56 Posted 14/09/2018 at 14:44:46
If there is a points deduction, it will only be levied if we are nowhere near a European spot at the end of the season, rendering it meaningless. If we're in the hunt for a top 7 spot, the Premier League will not levy a points deduction.
As someone stated earlier, this is only about the Italians wanting compo for their coach. The Premier League has to save face possibly with a points deduction. It's all superficial "we have to appear to have done the right thing" garbage.
57 Posted 14/09/2018 at 14:55:09
I'm guessing an apology, a fine and a few theatre tickets should help sort it out as it's approaching panto season and people want a song and dance.
Back to football, we really need to turn draws into wins so I'm expecting 3 points this weekend... c'mon Toffees.
58 Posted 14/09/2018 at 15:05:07
Manchester United openly admitted to tapping up Moyes whilst under contract to Everton. But the Premier League did nothing.
It's not too late to file a lawsuit, plenty of new evidence has emerged with Moyes's and Fergy's autobiographies.
Sue the Premier League and use the compensation to pay the fine.
61 Posted 14/09/2018 at 15:46:04
As I understand it, we approached the club about the possibility of recruiting their manager and were not trying to encourage Silva to resign. I can imagine we may well have had a probably indirect exchange with Silva to ascertain whether he would in theory be amenable and the type of wages he would seek, but we made a formal approach as I understand it to the club, not Silva.
The nub of this issue under EPL rules is whether attempting to qualify whether a person would even be interested in moving amounts to 'an approach', if it falls short of negotiation or ongoing dialogue. And that is assuming Everton even had such an informal contact, which they may not have done.
Our formal approach was rebuffed. I think we would be technically falling foul of the regulations if we had further contact with Silva after being rebuffed by the club. But Silva, whether we talked to him or not, did not resign, he stayed with Watford.
The fact that Watford then struggled strikes me as neither here nor there. It would be impossible in my view to prove, even on a balance of probability, that Everton showing interest in Silva affected his performance. Frankly, they'd have a better case against Silva himself.
And in any case, Watford's EPL record is hardly one that suggests what then happened was unusual. And of course, if Watford chose, they could have dispensed with his services. It was their choice to keep with him and this they are accountable for what happens next.
I believe we offered compensation to Watford as part of our formal approach. That is normal because there is a clear loss implied in a player or manager not fulfilling their contract. But, as it turned out, Silva did fulfil his contract. And last time I looked at this, it appears that Watfor sacked him without compensation, which suggests, if there is any contract breach, it's theirs.
Of course, the devil here is in the detail. Did someone at Everton talk to Silva about moving and if so, was it beyond just checking if it was even a viable option? If so, we may well have broken Premier League rules.
But we clearly haven't broken the law and nor can I see any remotely defensible case for compensation, other than possibly to Silva from Watford. Maybe Watford, knowing that, have tried to move the process towards fines and point deductions...
62 Posted 14/09/2018 at 16:28:27
63 Posted 14/09/2018 at 16:31:39
They did the same when Silva was at Hull City — is this going to be brought up as well and Watford receive the same punishment as Everton?
Like others have pointed out, Van Dijk, Moyes to Man Utd being a done thing as early as January that season.
The constant Barkley bids even after being told during a closed transfer window he was not for sale.
The nick Barmby tap-up, what player would say "I want to play for them", unless he had been approached with the other club saying "We don't want you"? He knew they wanted him, hence coming out with the comment.
There are lots of different tap-ups that have gone on but Ashley Cole as the only one I recall a points reduction in the prem, may be others that have eluded me.
Like others have said, Niasse and one other player are the only ones to be punished for simulation; none coming out of the so called big six have been punished.
So I am expecting a fine, nothing more, the Premier League have already tried to distance themselves from this dispute; expect a fine and nothing more.
As for Watford, they should receive the same punishment; if I was chairman of Hull City, I would be following this very closely.
64 Posted 14/09/2018 at 16:40:53
You are exactly right. This isn't some kind of "conspiracy" against Everton. The Premier League have been pushing Watford to settle this behind closed doors but, since they refuse to do so, the league have to act.
One thing concerning me is that the Premier League, Fifa and Uefa are all investigating agents and trying to stop the outflow of money and all these shenanigans. The "tapping up" thing is essentially part of that same murky underworld where everyone has been talking to players and coaches "illegally" either directly or through intermediaries be they Mina Raiola or Paul Pogba. So, if the investigators find us guilty – which seems probable; otherwise, why would we even have attempted to mediate if there was no case to answer – that the Premier League may take the opportunity to hammer us as part of their overall drive to clean up transfers.
The flip-side to that is that it could open up a can of worms with dozens more cases. But I suspect the majority of clubs can accuse but also be accused of similar things so there may be a kind of Mexican standoff with Everton hung out to dry as the case that marks the start of a new "cleaner" era.
65 Posted 14/09/2018 at 17:03:28
If we do get a points deduction, surely we have a case for being treated more harshly than others have been. ‘Justice' is rendered meaningless if it isn't applied equally.
66 Posted 14/09/2018 at 17:15:47
They aren't having it both ways, their preference is for clubs to mediate. 99% of the time that works, in this case Watford won't play ball.
67 Posted 14/09/2018 at 17:41:55
If the clubs can't agree, then the Premier League must decide the appropriate amount but if they impose a points deduction then they are applying a level of punishment they haven't insisted on before.
It's ridiculous to allow a malicious ‘victim' to force a greater punishment. Justice must be applied equally and that includes the level of punishment.
It is also wrong to start applying these things retrospectively. If you want to bring in greater punishment you can draw a line in the sand and say anyone who infringes from this point will get the new level of punishment, but it still has to be applied to everyone.
69 Posted 14/09/2018 at 18:15:34
70 Posted 14/09/2018 at 21:36:48
Any member of the bar is a friend of mine, in fact, I have met with quite a few this evening. Bars are nothing special, you set them as high or low as you want, some even limbo under them.
No John, I have nothing against bars (or the bar) – it is just that, in an open forum, some will throw in their status, be it lawyer or barman, as some way of accreditation.
I have no hidden agenda against the bar, nor the right to free speech. What I do detest are the ones that find it hard to make their case in one or even two posts and feel that they have to chip in or counter every argument made on these pages.
You as a poster of few words who likes to keep in with the flavour of the month poster (brown nose) will know what I am talking about, so please don't keep coming up like 'Little Sir Echo' and try and put me on the spot.
I have likes and I certainly have dislikes and at the moment I am reserving judgement on you, mate, albeit that my ancestors carried the name Davies.
71 Posted 14/09/2018 at 21:44:15
73 Posted 14/09/2018 at 00:09:47
As far as I can tell, Everton made several formal approaches for Silva and were repeatedly knocked back.
If we are to be charged with anything, surely it's being ‘bothersome'.
74 Posted 16/09/2018 at 20:59:42
It also appears he was the only candidate for the job and Everton had to tap him up to get him and give him a 3-year contract. How highly unprofessional and desperate this all seems.
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