So, it’s finally official. After losing 10 points back in late November for a financial infringement, 4 points will be added back to our tally for this season. They will give us a small but not insignificant buffer from the drop zone, crucially taking us 1 point above Nottingham Forest, who are charged with their own Profitability and Sustainability Rules (PSR) breach, and 5 points clear of the resurgent Luton Town. What was beginning to look like yet another uphill battle to avoid relegation now appears ever so slightly brighter.

But the little waft of positivity we’ve received today is no consolation. It remains a bitter pill to swallow after what has been a farcical few months from start to finish. It goes without saying that the Premier League is rife with corruption, but the ineptitude of their handling of this investigation has led to complete disillusionment over what the P&S rules are and should be.

Media outlets, fans and former players all seemed to agree that the 10-point deduction was ludicrously harsh to begin with. Today’s reasonably positive outcome only makes me think that the Premier League and the independent commission knew what they were going to do from the very beginning.

It mimics the plotline of a typical Orwellian piece – inflict a cruel and disproportionate sanction to deter others, shoulder the inevitable complaints, and then reduce the sentence. The final punishment remains inflated, but the victims feel less aggrieved knowing they had it worse and their appeal was successful.

Whether this improves our outlook on our chances of survival or not, we are still being royally fleeced by the powers that be. Everton have also been charged with a second potential breach of PSR, covering 75% of the financial period for which we have already been penalised. The legal expression ‘double jeopardy’ is a term that I’m sure many of us won’t have really heard of, used or properly understood before, but I can say I’ve heard it uttered more frequently in the weeks since the second charge was announced.

Consider also that, when we received the revised punishment earlier today, the Premier League noted that it had withdrawn claims that Everton had not acted in good faith and only two of the nine grounds we appealed on were upheld. For that reason, the prospect of a second punishment being handed out by the Premier League seems untenable from a legal point of view. However, we do just appear to be the protagonist in their great satirical comedy and our fate will solely depend on what they decide to throw at us next time. I for one will not be counting a single chicken.

A second deduction of 6 points would take us back into the bearpit of relegation, undo more of our improved work this season, and land yet another knockout blow on an already mentally depleted team and fanbase. The only saving grace would be the ongoing investigation involving Nottingham Forest, meaning that Everton could still sit outside the Bottom 3 even with a further points deduction. It is far from an encouraging situation, though, and we must retain a relentless attitude to the very end considering some investigations and appeals may only conclude after the season has already finished.

That said, we were galvanised by the news of the first points deduction where the team picked up 12 out of a possible 15 points from our following five games. We’d kill for a similar reaction this time around, particularly with some tougher fixtures on the horizon. While I believe we’ll see some sort of reaction from the fans against West Ham on Saturday, I feel like we are wholly exhausted as a fan base and our reaction is in danger of appearing less hostile than it should be.

I would encourage every one of our fans attending at the weekend to make Goodison Park the bearpit it can be on its best days, not just to spur on the boys in the blue jersey but to sustain our stand against those destroying our game. We as fans have done an impeccable job over the last few years of dragging the team over the line when they need it – this time, they need us again through no fault of their own.

We are all immensely frustrated with what our club has become, but with any luck, these next few months will be the dying breaths of the turmoil that has engulfed us in recent years. As they say, there’s always a rainbow after the storm.

Reader Comments (14)

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Tony Mace
1 Posted 26/02/2024 at 15:37:09
Should have gone further and suspended the 6 points until after dealing with Man City.

Re: The 2 points we threw away v Brighton. Anything EPL can do we can do better!

Onwards and hopefully upwards


Mal van Schaick
2 Posted 26/02/2024 at 15:53:36
Agree with you Tony. How can this be a level playing field, when others are waiting for their decisions on points deductions or fines, or both.

It makes a mockery of any system of transparency, when Everton have no model to base their treatment on. The Premier League is dysfunctional.

Matthew Parry
3 Posted 26/02/2024 at 16:10:53
Just adding to my article…

The Premier League's response today also indicated that EFL rules were used as they do not have their own rules available for all criteria of the Everton case. This in mind, the EFL have rules preventing double jeopardy and they land themselves in a legal nightmare if they punish us a second time.

The second breach should therefore come to nothing and our position relative to Forest should be significantly improved.

Barry Milligan
4 Posted 26/02/2024 at 18:14:20
If we could only have held out against Brighton, it would have felt like a 7-point weekend (almost)!
Joe McMahon
5 Posted 26/02/2024 at 18:26:39
Exactly my thoughts, Barry.
John Connor
6 Posted 26/02/2024 at 20:15:25
I was half hoping for Everton not to accept the points and take appeal to the court of arbitration or somewhere, you know a proper legal process, not a kangaroo court!!

As the next charge can't be heard until after the appeal is sorted, we could have dragged it out to the end of the season and faced the second charge once the season finished. This shambles can't have any precedence in law, just made up rules by a self-serving few.

To borrow the 'punishment' from the EFL shows how inept they are. The Premier League had no published sanctions in place so how can they decide on a punishment? Probably the rantings of an angry fan!

Derek Thomas
7 Posted 26/02/2024 at 21:06:14
What it means is when our second offence and Forest's first are factored in – whenever that happens, some say not until after all the games have finished!! The current table will read:

16th Luton 20 points
17th Everton 19 points
18th Forest 18 points

It still – as it always should – depends on winning games.

The Premier League and Masters have saved face and can theoretically, in time-honoured Pilate-esque fashion – who ever goes down –wash their hands of blame.

Arses covered, Government regulation avoided = Sorted!

Matthew @ 3. Interesting point of order there, brother.

Either the EFL rules, all of them, are valid precedent or none are – and they've already set the precedent on precedent.

Jack Convery
8 Posted 26/02/2024 at 21:23:21
To quote the legendary Oliver Hardy, this is another fine mess. How can a multi-billion-pound industry be run by such dimwits as Masters and Co?

Introduce a rule about PSR and then have no process in place that is transparent, so clubs and fans alike know what the punishments are for being found guilty.

End up in a situation where a team is deducted too many points and, as the original 10 points are reduced to 6 on appeal during a season, leaving that club's team and fans not knowing what the fuck is going on. Also leaving other teams and their fans in the dark.

Issuing Forest with a charge during the season along with a second charge for Everton – incidentally for much the same period and bringing double jeopardy into consideration – or will it? Who knows.

After today's decision, the Premier League now has 4 teams involved for that 18th place from just two – us and Luton. Forest and Brentford are well involved now.

Come the last game of the season and Forest have appealed whatever sanction they may get, they play Burnley not knowing if 1 point or 3 points are required. When we play Luton away, what do we do? It's a bloody farce and all the fault of an organisation not fit for purpose.

When will Man City and Chelsea be dealt with?

We all need to lobby Parliament, along with the fans of the other "small teams", and get the government regulator involved asap.

Don Alexander
9 Posted 27/02/2024 at 01:23:47
First off, Jack, wasn't Imre Varadi's missus called Olive?

That's admittedly one old corny joke but Masters and crew reach new depths when it comes to corny jokes.

We fans are facing the total melt-down of our club's very existence due to the shenanigans, to put it mildly, of Moshiri, his chosen one (and his chosen ones – leeches every one of them), Masters, 777 Partners (opaque as they are on an otherwise perfectly clear day), any other nefarious take-over shark, and the best outcome, to some of us (and I'm not dissing them because they may be sadly right) is that we rely on clutching at the straw of Government oversight of the Premier League to ensure we don't drown.

Just what's "football" got to do with the focus of any of the above personnel?

Peter Warren
10 Posted 27/02/2024 at 11:30:39
Moshiri - what a disaster.

If we can't finish fourth bottom in this league even with 12 points deducted, we deserve relegation. There's no excuse.

Andy Crooks
11 Posted 27/02/2024 at 16:08:21
Barry Milligan, that sums it up.

I was in a shop when I thought I heard the outcome on the radio. Called into my mate's shop and he confirmed it.

Then, as supporters do, we reflected on the icing that could and should have been on the cake. Wins against Palace and Brighton then West Ham and a win that would have put safety in our grasp.

Unfortunately that is not our way.

Robert Tressell
12 Posted 27/02/2024 at 20:12:32
Not sure on which of the three threads to air these random thoughts but yours is a really good article, Matthew, so here goes:

1. Main thing is (for the time being) we've moved up the table and have a much better chance of staying up (and I fancied our chances anyway).

2. So much conjecture, but even if we get another deduction layered on, then Forest should get a heftier penalty at the same time. They will be really worried and rightly so. It's not like a few things came home to roost for them (as it did us) – they actively went out on a hugely reckless spending spree to gain an obvious sporting advantage (and then delayed the sale of Brennan Johnson to get a better purchase price).

3. Because of the timing, I wouldn't be surprised if we and Forest each get a suspended penalty – for which we are let off with good behaviour. That makes sense because otherwise the season finishes and no-one knows where they stand. And it also makes sense because the rules will almost certainly be eased over the summer anyway (otherwise the whole thing becomes a farce where half the teams get a points deduction and / or no-one can risk buying players).

4. I am glad you repeated just how disproportionate this has been against Everton. We shouldn't forget that. Absolutely outrageous punishment – and personally (despite being of sound mind, honest), I do smell something along the lines of a conspiracy (or maybe a "ganging up"). A 6-point deduction is still outrageous and disproportionate, even if I am seeing the positives of it being less than a 10-point deduction.

5. Since the rules are changing and it looks like (from other threads) the financials have been moving in the right direction anyway (sales of Gordon and Richarlison etc), hopefully we don't need to sell both of Onana and Branthwaite in summer. If we just sell Onana and can reinvest the proceeds a bit, that will be excellent.

6. Some of the players (Garner?) have mentioned it is all preying on their minds a bit. Hopefully getting 4 points back and seeing us positioned higher up the table again has a positive effect on morale in a small, tiring squad who got no reinforcements in January.

7. Dyche-bashers will still have plenty to complain about because, with only 4 points back, Dyche will no doubt remain in safety-first mode till the end of the season. Dobbin will not be given the opportunity to demonstrate that (after his 3 goals in 43 games for third tier Derby last season) he's really the new Kanchelskis, and Calvert-Lewin will continue to plough an isolated furrow up front on his own (instead of Michael Keane banging them in like a modern-day Paul Warhurst).

Oliver Molloy
13 Posted 27/02/2024 at 20:44:52

As you say, so much been written by so many - from what I read, I do think Everton will receive another points deduction as this is our second breach and we may even have a third breach!

I don't understand how you think Forest will end up worse off than us, this is their first offence. In saying that, our first breach got us 6 points taken away, so the bar has been set maybe?

Nick Page
14 Posted 27/02/2024 at 20:53:52

Can anyone explain why the murderers got off with this based on mitigating circumstances of the Mordor rebuild? And we weren't allowed to expense stadium build expenses.

I remembered this today – makes no sense. Unless you made a deal with the devil.

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