It's been surprising to see a number of fans claiming that Everton are obviously guilty of having breached the Premier League's Profitability and Sustainability Rules… well, perhaps not so surprising since Everton themselves bizarrely backtracked and pleaded guilty after insisting they had done nothing wrong and would mount a robust defence knowing they had abided by all the P&S rules.   

Well, let's take a closer look at this thorny business of trying to abide by the Premier League's rules… I mean, we can all safely assume that at least the Premier League themselves will do that, surely? 

One thing is abundantly clear to me: the entirely arbitrary nature of the proceedings, the decision-making, the rejection of mitigation, the 10-point deduction itself. 

But there's another very important arbitrary decision — presumably made soon after the independent commission was initially set up — that they would simply reject all the rules setting the required timeline for the process itself, and this one has hardly been raised at all, apparently just accepted by all parties. 

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What I'm referring to here is something I missed completely in my reading of the PSR stuff in Section E and the Commission stuff in Section W of the Premier League Handbook. There is a whole additional set of Premier League P&S rules — called Standard Directions — that appear to have been simply tossed out of the window. 

Rule 5. These Standard Directions apply in respect of any PSR Complaint.

These rules require above all that the process is completed by 1 June after the club's accounts (and PSR calculation) have been submitted. Everton submitted in March 2023 so, by the Premier League's own rules, the process should have been complete by 1 June 2023.

Rule 1. These Standard Directions have been agreed by Clubs to ensure that any complaint regarding a breach of the Profitability and Sustainability Rules can be resolved, including any appeal to an Appeal Board, as expeditiously as possible and, absent exceptional circumstances, prior to the 1 June following the submission of the relevant Club’s Annual Accounts (the “Backstop Date”).

Rule 5. (Continued) The League and Clubs recognise and agree that, given the possibility of the imposition of a sporting sanction in the form of a points deduction … and the desirability (so as to protect the interests of other Clubs) of any such points deduction taking effect in the Season in which the relevant Club’s Annual Accounts are submitted, it is important that clarity is reached regarding any such sanction prior to the subsequent Annual General Meeting. This provides certainty for the League, its Member Clubs and other stakeholders as to the membership of the League in the subsequent Season. 

If that's not clear enough, it's restated in even stronger language a number of times within the Standard Directions, for example:

Rule15. Any PSR Complaint referred to a Commission by the Board must be 
determined by the Commission at a single hearing, at which the parties shall make submissions and adduce evidence both about breach and to sanction, to be listed for between one and five days, so as to conclude the Commission proceedings (by the Commission’s decision, together with written reasons) within 12 weeks (84 days) of the serving of the PSR Complaint on the Respondents by the Board pursuant to Rules W.23 to W.25, within which period the procedural steps below must take place.

The Standard Directions do allow for the procedural steps to be varied (Rule 6):

However, such variation of the procedural steps within the Standard Directions will only be permitted where both: 
a. there are specific circumstances warranting the variation; and
b. in any event the variation does not defeat the purpose of these Standard Directions by endangering the possibility of concluding the Commission proceedings, and any subsequent appeal, by the Backstop Date.
 

The rest of the Standard Directions are very tight on setting time limits to each stage of the process, all of which as far as I can tell have been breached by the Premier League, who have simply tossed them out entirely. 

I can only conclude that Everton, rather than insisting that the Standard Directions be followed to the letter, in their own utter incompetence, have agreed to work with the Premier League and their own leisurely schedule.

Hell's bells — even the very first step of this nonsense should have been used by the club to tell them exactly where to go:

Rule 8. Any PSR Complaint must be served by the Board on the Respondent … by no later than two weeks (14 days) following provision by the Club of its Annual Accounts.

Everton published their Annual Accounts for 2021-22 on 1 March 2023.

The PSR Complaint was served to Everton on 24 March 2023 — 23 days later, and obviously well beyond the 14 days allowed in the Premier League's own rules. 

I rest my case.

Source:  Premier League Handbook, Appendix 1. Profitability and Sustainability Rules — Standard Directions

Update See below for possible explanation to the above

 


Reader Comments (33)

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Derek Thomas
1 Posted 06/12/2023 at 13:35:37
By Gad Sir, legal point of order worthy of Messrs; Haller, Mason, Rumpole & Slant.

Edit; but what does it mean in real terms...are we talking null and void, case dismissed here?

Dave Waugh
2 Posted 06/12/2023 at 13:58:37
Great spot that. Hopefully our lawyers are aware of the fact that the 14 day deadline (under Rule 8 of the Standard Directions) was missed.

Okay, it's a technicality but – so what, they make the rules. I'd tell the PL to take a running jump and declare the notice a waste of good paper. Case closed!

Mark Taylor
3 Posted 06/12/2023 at 14:01:36
Interesting post, Michael, I think the only aspect here is that 6a gives a fair bit of wriggle room, especially as it's unclear who decides whether a variation is warranted.

Perhaps a clue lies in the May hearing

Especially points 16 and 17. The way I read those is that the attempt by clubs potentially seeking compensation to join as parties to the complaint hearing, delayed the hearing itself.

I wonder also whether it would be argued that the club has not acted in utmost good faith in not disclosing information correctly, like the actual content of the loan agreements, which effectively led to us changing our plea.

I wonder how your detective work applies in the case of Man City?

Alan J Thompson
4 Posted 06/12/2023 at 14:21:55
Well thank heavens we have lawyers from the top sporting chambers in UK or we might be right in it, or is this just the way out for certain other clubs.
John Keating
5 Posted 06/12/2023 at 15:53:19
The whole thing from the beginning has been a farce.

These flunkeys, on both sides, from this Chamber where they're all supposed to be experts in Sports legislation, and the Premier League appear to be a law unto themselves.

The fact that the whole fiasco has been masonic, and nobody appears to have seen the actual day-to-day and individual transcripts of evidence, gives, a quite right conclusion of possible corruption. All evidence should be brought out into the open.

Jim Wilson
6 Posted 06/12/2023 at 16:09:50
Brilliant Micheal!

The whole thing beggars belief. When the points deduction was first announced and I didn't really know the details it didn't sit right. Now I find it astonishing that Everton just didn't get a warning.

I'm convinced that someone at Everton was told by someone at the Premier League, don't worry about anything, just comply with us, we just need to be seen to be doing due diligence, it will be fine.

Didn't the Premier League themselves say Everton hadn't broke any rules at one time?

It all stinks and the points deduction should be withdrawn immediately.

Brent Stephens
7 Posted 06/12/2023 at 18:32:32
Mark #3. It does seem that points 16 and 17 in the report from the May 2023 meeting appear to justify the date of the hearing being delayed until October 2023. The principle of the case being "properly and fairly determined at first instance and on appeal" (para 16) by mid-June 2023 surely applies to Everton as well as the applicants in this case, especially given the quantity of documentation that had to be considered by the Commission.

Notwithstanding the fact that the October hearing went against us, I imagine that a decision against Everton made in such a short time-scale would have resulted in outrage about the unreasonably short timescale applied.

Lyndon Lloyd
8 Posted 06/12/2023 at 18:45:59
Further to Brent's point, does point 38 under "Procedural History" in the Independent Commission's report not cover the agreed timeline for the process?

"The Commission decided that it was unrealistic to expect these proceedings and any appeal to be determined in the current season – and that to compel Everton to attempt to meet such a timetable would run the risk of procedural unfairness. Conventional directions were agreed, with the substantive hearing to take place in the autumn of 2023, which would permit any appeal to be heard and determined in the 2023/2024 season."

Michael may have something with his last point, however. It does seem as though the Premier League missed its own deadline under Rule 8 by nine days.

Brent Stephens
9 Posted 06/12/2023 at 18:56:49
Lyndon #8,

"Michael may have something with his last point, however. It does seem as though the Premier League missed its own deadline under Rule 8 by nine days."

Yes, I wonder why we didn't appeal on that basis?! Too late now, I guess. Thanks a million, Everton.

Danny O’Neill
10 Posted 06/12/2023 at 19:09:39
Well a combination of me getting geared up for the football tomorrow night and not being to most clued up on these matters, that tells me what we've suspected. The Premier League hasn't followed process or procedure. It's own process and procedure.

So we fight this in the courts, but most importantly, we fight them on the pitch. Starting tomorrow night and Sunday.

6 points up for grabs on the back of the 3 we got last weekend. There's 9 on the board before any appeal chalks off a few more.

Passion and defiance.

Brent Stephens
11 Posted 06/12/2023 at 19:20:41
Danny #10,

"The Premier League hasn't followed process or procedure. Its own process and procedure."

Yes, and you're not going to let Everton off the hook for not appealing the point, are you?! Fight, Danny! Fight!

Andy Crooks
12 Posted 06/12/2023 at 19:28:14
Excellent, MK.

Here's what concerns me; the assumption that our "legal team", will be all over this. I have long, long experience with the "learned friends", (believe me, you want to stay out of their hands) and I genuinely worry that they won't.

I would be happier if the capable folk on this site were dealing with this. Believe me, the KCs know much, much less than we think.

Brendan McLaughlin
13 Posted 06/12/2023 at 20:11:30
Lyndon #8,

I suspect the 14-day rule may be flexible if the Premier League requires a club to provide clarification on information they have previously furnished to the Premier League. Obviously if a club takes 10 days to provide clarification this may impact the 14-day deadline.

Si Cooper
14 Posted 07/12/2023 at 00:38:48
Are any technicalities around time limits for bringing charges enough to convince any genuine neutrals that we have truly suffered a miscarriage of justice? I'm not sure that any of these time-line anomalies add up to anything significant enough to over-turn the ‘caught with hand in cookie jar' verdict for our over-spend.

I feel the only thing that will cause the Premier League to fold is a general acceptance that the verdict may be right but the punishment is excessive (because it is designed to fend off true regulation) and that can only be demonstrated by forcing the Premier League to disclose what punishment Man City and Chelsea would face if they were at some stage to be found guilty of what they are charged with.

Jerome Shields
15 Posted 07/12/2023 at 05:39:46
The whole process is full of holes. The interests of the vested were went for and proper process went out the window. The Premier League were just exposed for what they are. Everton thought that they were in the tent pissing out but, in reality, they were outside the tent being pissed on.

It is interesting, if true, that Everton's two distinguished ex-Directors refused to testify in front of the Commission. I do miss Barret-Baxendale's explanation hidden in the bowels of EFC. It must be killing her to keep her mouth shut.

Lyndon Lloyd
16 Posted 07/12/2023 at 07:15:47
Jerome, do we know for sure they refused? Or did the club decide not to ask them to / make them?
Christine Foster
17 Posted 07/12/2023 at 07:52:04
Lyndon, I find the absence of Grant Ingles at the commission to be unforgivable. He is the one person, and probably the only one, who could give an accurate insight, repudiation or detail, of the EPL perspective as to who said what when and the context of their ongoing discussions.
Did the club feel he was not required? ( don't believe this for a minute) As part of his leaving settlement, his attendance as an active, essential, witness, was paramount. Why wouldn't they defend their actions professionally never mind for the sake of Everton? Both of their professional reputations are trashed by their refusal to attend. Irrespective of any leaving settlement, the club could have asked them for assistance in the matter, surely they would have at least done that? Or on the other hand either of the two offering their services?
Was any covering statement from either obtained? Or asked for or refused?
The whole thing doesn't " feel right" is it a joint set of two fingers to the club from both?
Tony Everan
18 Posted 07/12/2023 at 08:10:46
Christine, Lyndon , Jerome , maybe they don’t want him questioned. Maybe Ingles raised the warning signs but was steamrollered by Moshiri Usmanov Rysantsev etc.

Maybe his testimony would reveal the disconnect and dysfunction in the Everton boardroom. Governance became like a frightened, cowering mouse in the shadow of a towering hungry wildcat.

A boardroom and governance power vacuum that comes from having an absent billionaire accountant owner in tow to a multi billionaire Oligarch, in tow to Putin. Disgracefully the boardroom was too weak and totally self serving, to walk away or call it out.

John Keating
19 Posted 07/12/2023 at 08:11:32
I don’t see how the PL and their very own “independent” commission can change their decision

The whole corrupt fiasco was set up to prove the PL and their flunkeys, who make millions out of them, could run their own business and therefore continue their corruption unabated.

If the PL allow their decision to be overturned it would add weight to their incompetence, and further calls for a Government regulator

Anthony Hawkins
20 Posted 07/12/2023 at 12:29:10
There is something very fishy about the whole approach and how the club has responded. It's like the club are willing to accept the outcome to avoid deeper interrogation. Certainly not having a financial representative is extremely naïve unless intended.
Anthony Hawkins
21 Posted 07/12/2023 at 12:29:10
There is something very fishy about the whole approach and how the club has responded. It's like the club are willing to accept the outcome to avoid deeper interrogation. Certainly not having a financial representative is extremely naïve unless intended.
Barry Hesketh
22 Posted 07/12/2023 at 12:35:46
Anthony @21
I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that the former CEO and Finance guy, were willing to represent the club in the hearing, but that the offer was declined, presumably by Moshiri - I can't verify if that story was true or not, but it does, if it's true, reflect the arrogance of the Iranian, which is possibly why Everton found itself in trouble in the first place.
Brian Harrison
23 Posted 07/12/2023 at 12:41:10
Barry 22

Keith Wyness our former CEO was reported in the Echo of saying that he offered to attend the hearing but the club for whatever reason didn't take him up on his offer. Seems strange that when most of the hearing cantered on financial matters that the club chose not to have a financial expert present, not withstanding Keith Wyness offer.

Craig Harrison
24 Posted 07/12/2023 at 12:47:25
Did Man City not beat there European conviction by appealing to the CAS because UEFA did not follow deadlines. The CAS never said City are innocent, they ruled UEFA was outside its own time limits.
Brendan McLaughlin
25 Posted 07/12/2023 at 14:29:16
DBB & Ingles resigned in June. Everton were well aware that the Independent Commission was coming up but apparently didn't think to make their attendance part of their severance package.

Not so sure about DBB as her financial role would have been somewhat limited but it is very strange with respect to Ingles.

Can't help but feel Moshiri didn"t particularly want Ingles at the hearing.

Dave Abrahams
26 Posted 07/12/2023 at 15:28:52
Brendan (25),If I’m not mistaken I thought it was mentioned by the club or someone close to Kenwright that The Chairman was still working hard as ever for the club right up until the time he had his initial operation, if that was the case then surely he could have written an account defending the club he loved more than most to be presented toThe Commission to take into account in November.

He must have been aware of the situation even well before the club was charged in March since he, as Chairman, was running the club and being paid to do so on a day to day basis.

Brendan McLaughlin
27 Posted 07/12/2023 at 17:26:40
Dave #26

Perhaps Bill never thought written evidence from him would be necessary as he considered he'd still be fit to attend in person?

Perhaps he maybe even thought the operation would be a success?

Kenwright..eh?

Dave Abrahams
28 Posted 07/12/2023 at 17:38:56
Brendan (27) Yes anything could have gone through his mind but perfectly healthy people make wills to protect the people they love and The Chairman loved Everton more than anything, he bled blue blood some of his friends said, so with that in mind he could have tried to save the love of his life with a written testimony of his evidence.

Still it’s no use crying over spilt milk.

Tony Abrahams
29 Posted 07/12/2023 at 22:57:21
I walked out of Goodison tonight and saw a lot of genuinely happy people smiling, and not just with relief, but because they had just witnessed their football team fighting for every ball. My own thoughts were that I felt like a curse has finally been lifted, and now we just need Moshiri to sell our club, to people with a genuine plan to take us forward🙏
Barry Hesketh
30 Posted 07/12/2023 at 23:04:34
Tony @29
Totally agree mate, it was like the good old days, and it was great to see us trying to add to the goal tally rather than sitting deep and allowing the opponents to dominate the ball, without challenge. It could have been a better score at half-time, and after about an hour, I did wonder if we would settle for a point, but as challenge after challenge went in, we got the breakthrough and didn't look back from that point onward.

Looking forward to Sunday, although it won't be at all easy, if the same sort of performance is put on by the players, the crowd will respond and we'll have a chance. We should be on twenty points and sitting pretty, but there is still a lot of hard work to be done in the next few months, because of that ten point deduction.

COYB


Don Alexander
31 Posted 08/12/2023 at 02:39:19
Due respect to the many of us who attempt to analyze whatever legal governance, if any at all, may have infected the convicting panel but the bald indisputable fact remains that Moshiri, the ace accountant (ha-ha), pleaded guilty at the hearing having previously many times assured the world through his self-serving devious mouthpiece Kenwright that we had a more than viable full defence.

Moshiri then permitted nobody but himself to attend the hearing in our defence, and was allegedly then "slaughtered" as a credible witness. Given his insistence from the outset that he would devote only 5% of his oh so valuable time to being involved with Everton at all, am I the only one to find his volte-face, ahem, "peculiar"?

I suggest that more than a few people involved to any extent in the Goodison boardroom for many years would have a great deal to say if truth mattered a damn to the exceptionally well paid-off leeches they are.

Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
32 Posted 08/12/2023 at 18:21:39
A further update on this, according to Everton statto, author, podcaster and all-round good egg, Gavin Buckland, these Standard Directions were only put in place recently, no doubt in response to complaints from the clubs recently relegated that penalties for PSR breaches weren't being applied soon enough to benefit them.

He says we were treated under the 2022/23 rulebook and that the new Standard Directions only apply from this season onwards.

Brent Stephens
33 Posted 08/12/2023 at 19:08:42
So no let-out for Everton in terms of delay in the complaint being served on Everton?

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