Everton refute claim that club auditor is resigning

12/10/2022 39comments  |  Jump to last

Everton have responded to suggestions that BDO have stepped away from their role as the club's financial auditor. 

According to The Guardian, the firm is considering walking away from its role signing off the club’s accounts, having told Everton it will not be conducting the work, a decision which sources said was related to Farhad Moshiri’s ownership of the Premier League team.

BDO have audited the club’s accounts for the past two years but even though the report suggests the Blues will be searching for a replacement and the firm itself refused to confirm that it will be continuing its relationship with the club, a statement from a spokesman for Moshiri flatly rejected the assertion:

“Your assertions [about BDO] are based on nothing more than them refusing to discuss a client matter with a third-party journalist.

Article continues below video content

“In line with company best practice we do follow audit rotation. However BDO remain our auditors and have not resigned.” 


Reader Comments (39)

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Mike Gaynes
1 Posted 12/10/2022 at 16:31:15
That is a stunning article in The Guardian...

Tony Hill
2 Posted 12/10/2022 at 16:51:55
Yes, concerning, Mike.
Kieran Kinsella
3 Posted 12/10/2022 at 17:01:53

Apparently there were some gaps in the bank accounts but they found a dusty piggy labeled "Arteta money" with just a few buttons and paper clips inside.

Chris Jones (Burton on Trent)
4 Posted 12/10/2022 at 17:53:20
I'm surprised to have not seen more discussion on this Guardian headline (similar also on BBC around lunchtime today)...

"Everton auditor considers walking away, raising questions over club's financing"

Larry O'Hara
5 Posted 12/10/2022 at 18:06:02
Very depressing article and probably right.

Like others, I would really appreciate Paul the Esk's take on this…

Dale Self
6 Posted 12/10/2022 at 18:09:36
It looks somewhat like a hit job although I'm not familiar with Simon Goodley. Nothing quoted from BDO, the club does use a rotation of these auditors (best practice you know, ahem) and we have until 31 March of next year to get the Annual Report of Accounts to the Premier League authorities.

Not really a story yet, in my opinion.

Michael Lynch
7 Posted 12/10/2022 at 18:45:59

The Guardian article is scary until you realise: 1 - it's the Guardian, and 2 - it links its bleak statement saying Bramley-Moore Dock "costs have been escalating" to an article from 2017!

File in the bin.

Stephen Davies
8 Posted 12/10/2022 at 19:45:56

Simon Goodley was awarded Business, Financial and Economic Journalist of the Year a few years ago.

What Newspaper would it need to be published in for the report to be taken more seriously?

Michael Lynch
9 Posted 12/10/2022 at 20:22:21

There is literally no newspaper I would take seriously these days. The Guardian, like all of them, is all about clickbait and cheap journalism. And I think the second part of my first comment illustrates the second part of this comment.

Jay Harris
10 Posted 12/10/2022 at 21:36:42
More media mischief.

Why would any audit firm worth their salt give a statement out that they were not prepared to continue auditing said organisation.

Michael Kenrick
11 Posted 12/10/2022 at 21:42:25
Paul the Esk does go a little bit into this in his latest podcast.

He suggests that, if there is any truth to this, it could be that BDO might have come across some evidence that they believe casts doubt on Farhad Moshiri's ownership of the club through Blue Heaven Holdings, an Isle of Man company of which Farhad Moshiri is the beneficial owner of record.

Further speculation that they may have finally established where Farhad Moshiri has been getting the money he has been pumping into Everton? A link to Usmanov, perhaps?

All complete speculation, of course, and it's all being strongly denied, of course.

Chris Williams
12 Posted 12/10/2022 at 21:44:33
No doubt, the truth of the Guardian report will be established in the near future, as will Everton's version.

For an auditor to refuse to sign off accounts is a pretty big deal.

I've not yet seen any other outlet pick up on the story, other than the sites who make a living regurgitating and recycling bullshit.

This may not be bullshit, but we'll see soon enough.

Tony Hill
13 Posted 12/10/2022 at 21:46:03
I don't like the smell of this and I don't think we should lightly dismiss it.

The hope is that it gets buried by events, and the sooner this utterly hopeless Board and ownership disappear the better.

Michael Kenrick
14 Posted 12/10/2022 at 21:46:52

I don't think they have. On the contrary, BDO have refused to confirm anything. Quite right too.

But it would seem that somebody claiming to be involved with BDO have talked to The Guardian, if they are not completely making it up. (Why would they?) That seems incredibly unprofessional if true, but par for the course with Everton!

Brent Stephens
15 Posted 12/10/2022 at 22:17:55
The Guardian is normally a trustworthy source so let's wait and see..
Dale Self
16 Posted 12/10/2022 at 22:18:55
Dude has been on Usmanov/Abramovich duty from what it looks like. Then was dispatched to the Rishi campaign so I'm not sure this is one of the Guardian's heavies like a Spencer Ackerman or someone of that pedigree. Also did some cursory stuff on the Pandora papers so he's kind of looking for a failure story possibly and well Everton is a non-laughable target these days but I'm betting against him having the goods here. Disclaimer: I don't actually know anything (generally).
John Raftery
17 Posted 12/10/2022 at 22:29:29
‘According to sources….the Guardian understands’. That reads a little like a transfer rumour.
Barry Rathbone
18 Posted 12/10/2022 at 22:45:44
It's a massively damaging story and if wide of the mark the club and Mosh should be coming at it all guns blazing and they're not.

Tepid musings about rotating the auditors seems a bit wishy washy when what is really needed is a joint declaration saying "THIS IS BOLLOCKS" by both club and auditors.

On top of Mosh assuring fans the club wasn't for sale then stories abounding everywhere that the opposite is true I'm leaning toward the Guardian being right.

The club will be wound up 3 days before we move into BMD at 11.36 am.

Brent Stephens
19 Posted 12/10/2022 at 22:54:27
John, the Guardian is using several sources and they are usually very careful on such matters. It's not a paper to turn out trivial and untrue gossip. It might all turn out to be empty but at the moment it's flying. It will be interesting to see whether Everton (conveniently) change their auditors as they say they occasionally do - convenient because they can then say the auditors didn't resign but were no longer engaged by EFC.
Mark Andersson
20 Posted 13/10/2022 at 06:15:31
Great news if true... Put Bill and his incompetent board in prison, throw away the keys...

Only at Everton.

Tony Abrahams
21 Posted 13/10/2022 at 07:41:55
It honestly wouldn’t surprise me if this was leaked to the press by Bill Kenwright, which is truly absurd thinking, I know.
Colin Glassar
22 Posted 13/10/2022 at 08:06:01
At the end of the article, it says the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock could cost up to £500M. Wasn't that always the estimated cost?
Danny O’Neill
23 Posted 13/10/2022 at 08:39:47
Okay, I don't claim to be a financial wizard and my auditing experience relates to cyber governance risk and compliance. In that sense, it's not uncommon to change your auditor to suit your requirements.

I think it's no surprise the stadium was going to cost north of £300M and, as is inevitable with any project, there would be an assumption it would cost more? That surely must have been factored into the planning?

I'm probably naive but, looking at the work done so far, I can't for one minute think that the spades will be laid down. Too much investment to date and not just from Everton. Too many future prospects for the city.

But now I've just thought about that White Elephant that was the aftermath of the Garden Festival site on Otterspool Promenade. I know there has now been a lot of development and restoration in recent years, but that laid dormant and in neglect for years after the pomp and ceremony in the mid-80s.

Let's not go there. We're marching to Bramley-Moore Dock!

Laurie Hartley
24 Posted 13/10/2022 at 08:52:00
My gut feeling is that Farhad Moshiri and therefore us are regarded as guilty by association by the asset freezers (or is that seizers?).

Regardless of that, I have no doubt that, as Danny says, the stadium will be completed.

Chris Williams
25 Posted 13/10/2022 at 08:59:59

Spot on I think.

Unless there are more articles to emerge, see If the club changes their auditor. Given their reported response, that doesn't seem to be their plan, other than the hint at the end.

Given issues of client confidentiality, BDO might be unlikely to comment. But it is potentially damaging.

In the meantime… wait and see.

Peter O’Neill
26 Posted 13/10/2022 at 09:56:09
Some thoughts from a retired auditor:

1. Auditor rotation is required by law. Max period is 5 years so rotating after 2 would be unusual.

2. Auditor resignation is a serious matter. It would usually be associated with concerns over the ethical standards of the company being audited – eg, association with crime or fraud, failure to deliver all info auditor needs. Resigning auditor has to deliver a statement on why they are resigning and this is available to owners and creditors and succeeding auditor. To avoid this, companies sometimes fire or rotate their auditor.

3. Auditors sometimes resign to get themselves out of high-risk situations, ie, if they feel the risk of being sued themselves later in the day (eg, after a company they have given a clean audit report on goes bust). They shouldn't do this professionally but…

4. If there are concerns about the finances of a company and the auditor is concerned about a going concern, they can qualify the accounts – another big step.

Lots of conjecture and guesswork just now. All we can do is watch this space.

Dennis Stevens
27 Posted 13/10/2022 at 21:10:11
The most shocking thing here is the number of people who seem to consider The Grauniad to be reliable & trustworthy!
Brian Cleveland
28 Posted 14/10/2022 at 03:18:17
So, Dennis, you read the Daily Mail, the Express or the Sun? Of course they are far more reliable...

They all have their angles, you read them all and try to find a modicum of truth somewhere. Sad really.

Unless you believe the saying "the only bad publicity is no publicity", this is not what we need on top of being close to Russian investment and spending limits, whether something lurks below the surface or not.

Jay Harris
29 Posted 14/10/2022 at 04:16:08
I'm afraid I am in the camp that views all media as sensationalism to get attention.

I don't believe for one minute anyone from the auditors have leaked anything. Their reputation and sue ability would make them very careful about this.

To me, this has soundbytes of a RS mischief maker who has put Moshiri's association with Usmanov and our FFP issues together to make 2+2 = 5.

No organisation is squeaky clean but I believe the club and the auditors have done the right thing by keeping this low key.

I am also led to believe The Guardian themselves admit they have found no proof in their own investigations.

Stephen Vincent
30 Posted 14/10/2022 at 16:14:37
Peter #26, you omitted Number 5:

Where there is a disagreement between the internal finance team and the external auditors over the correct treatment of an item of income or expenditure.

For example, does a specific line of large expense qualify for 'pandemic relief' under Premier League rules?

Danny O’Neill
31 Posted 14/10/2022 at 16:27:08
I personally don't read any of the papers anymore. I haven't for a long time.

I get shouted at because of my increasing irritation with the BBC. Especially the Breakfast show that tells me how bad the world is and how stupid I am. Maybe I am stupid, but I don't need telling it all the time. I get told that enough at home and can work that out for myself.

The modern media outlets have become much more about pushing agendas rather than reporting the news and facts.

Dramatising and fear-mongering trumps actual facts every day it now seems.

And I'm not downplaying any problems with have in society before someone kicks off on me. Those who know me understand.

Ed Prytherch
32 Posted 14/10/2022 at 17:18:34
Danny, It is the same here in the States.
Dale Self
33 Posted 14/10/2022 at 17:22:40
Not to get Pollyannish about it but following the by-lines is crucial. There are good articles being written that do require some filtering even then, but at least there is some content. Since the advent of the internet, they've been fading though.
Dennis Stevens
34 Posted 15/10/2022 at 08:14:38
What an embarrassing post, Brian.

Making up stuff about me that you view negatively, so as to denigrate my opinion by positioning it as the view of the type of person you've imagined me to be. Utterly pathetic.

Your second & third points have no relevance to my post whatsoever. So, at least you're consistent.

Derek Knox
35 Posted 15/10/2022 at 08:31:10
I'm with Brent @ 15, I have always believed The Guardian to be one of the more reliable informants as far as newspapers go (usually the best cryptic crossies too). However, I have noticed a lowering of standards of late, is that to attract the less discerning reader, or vie with the competition?

That, out of the way, I have always been sceptical of Moshiri's handling of finances and the complete and utter fiascos in the hitherto transfer business for the club. Usually accompanied by, "How the fuck did this fella become so rich, and presumably recognised globally as a leading accountant, when he has blown a fortune quicker than Joe the Fatboy in the Tuck Shop?"

Peter Gorman
36 Posted 15/10/2022 at 08:48:03
Dennis – calling that rag the 'Grauniad' gives you away as a Private Eye reader, but don't worry, your secret is safe with me. And it is a trash newspaper, they all are, Brian.

Derek – how did the accountant become so rich? By laundering Russian money and inside trading, I would imagine, but that's speculation worthy of the rags mentioned above.

Dennis Stevens
37 Posted 15/10/2022 at 12:05:36
Not a term exclusive to Private Eye, Peter – did they originate it, perhaps? I certainly recall the term being used in a Goodies Annual I had as a youngster back in the mid-'70s.

My understanding was that the term was in common usage back in the day due to the reputation they had for the paper being littered with spelling mistakes. Indeed, one of the things I remember from the aforementioned annual was a fake obituary announcement for their late "prof-readre" who would be "sadly mossed".

Justin Doone
38 Posted 18/10/2022 at 18:22:28
Auditors are generally all the same. Who cares..?
Iain Johnston
39 Posted 19/10/2022 at 18:24:47
BDO have only been the clubs auditors for 2 years, not exactly headline news.

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