Premier League using the wrong case as precedent

by   |   08/12/2023  5 Comments  [Jump to last]

I think that the Premier League's independent commission looking into the Everton case looked at the wrong precedent.

The Sheffield Wednesday (SW) case was incorrect to use as the EFL acknowledged that SW had spent 48% over the EFL's £35M limit and that SW derived a clear sporting advantage. Additionally, not only did SW admit their guilt to the case brought against them, they too admitted that they derived a clear sporting advantage from their overspend. That remorse, and acknowledgement is what helped get the penalty halved.

A much better precedent for the IC to use to my mind, would have been the EFL vs Leicester City FC case brought in 2015;

See here; Leicester versus the EFL

Article continues below video content


(Reuters) - Leicester City will pay £3.1 million ($4.3 million) to settle a dispute with the English Football League (EFL) over the club's financial results for the 2013-14 season.

The club, owned by Thai-based company King Power, were deemed to have breached EFL's Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations when they won the second-tier Championship to secure promotion to the Premier League.

Leicester had recorded a loss of £20.8 million but said at the time they had reduced their costs and increased their revenue streams to submit a return which was in compliance with FFP rules.

"In reaching a settlement, the EFL acknowledges that the club did not make any deliberate attempt to infringe the rules or to deceive and that the dispute arose out of genuine differences of interpretation of the Rules between the parties," Leicester said in a statement.

"All relevant matters were taken into account when determining the quantum of the settlement."

The proceedings were pending with Queens Park Rangers challenging the FFP rules in 2015.

British media reported QPR were fined in the range of £58 million. The case is still ongoing.


As stated in the LCFC case;

""Leicester had recorded a loss of £20.8 million but said at the time they had reduced their costs and increased their revenue streams to submit a return which was in compliance with FFP rules."

(Sound familiar to within £1.3m?)

"In reaching a settlement, the EFL acknowledges that the club did not make any deliberate attempt to infringe the rules or to deceive and that the dispute arose out of genuine differences of interpretation of the Rules between the parties," Leicester said in a statement. (Again, does this not sound familiar?)

"All relevant matters were taken into account when determining the quantum of the settlement.""

Which is pretty much what Everton were alleged to have done, was it not?

I presume that the difference was that the EFL were satisfied with the logical arguement presented by Leicester and determinded a financial penalty satisfied a financial breach; whereas the Premier League saw what is coming over the hill in term of the Government-appointed 'Independent Regulator', and decided to try and make a statement by hammering Everton with a 10-point 'sporting sanction'.

Notwithstanding the fact that they did not proceed with punishing West Ham Utd for fielding two ineligible players and definitely gaining a sporting advantage (eg, Tevez scoring, etc), and allowing West Ham Utd to settle.

Then, to further rub salt into the wound, by not giving a sporting sanction (eg, a transfer embargo or some such), points deduction, suspension, or expulsion to the six clubs involved in attempting to form an alternative league, in a 'breakaway competition', to the detriment of the Premier League.

Instead, they handed the six clubs a collective fine of £22.3m which to this day has still not been levied by the Premier League, as far as the public domain is aware?

Just makes you wonder, doesn't it?

A selective 'badly aligned precedent', and a completely over-weighted sporting sanction for a genuinely minor financial indiscretion. (Yes, I acknowledge and know it was in fact a £124.5m overspend according to the PSR calculations, but...) which bear in mind the EPL back-tracked on regarding the eligibility of the interest to be deducted, despite knowing prior to the commission being appointed, how the loans were structured by virtue of Everton's willingness to divulge their financial position.

It would seem to me to just be an attempt to truss up a sacrifice, and try and delay the inevitable aforementioned Independent Regulator.


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Reader Comments (5)

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Michael Kenrick
1 Posted 08/12/2023 at 17:30:54
I had been hoping that the whole argument about so-called sporting advantage might be something to press at the appeal, along the lines of what Andy Burnham has pursued directly with the Premier League.

But I missed the story from a couple of days back that Kieran Maguire has been scratching around to find key moments when the clubs themselves agreed to points deductions for PSR breaches:

“However, what the Premier League has done, apparently in 2020 there was an agreement, or certainly a discussion, to say that the aim of sanctions would be a points deduction. Everton at the time said ‘We're okay with that' and if that's been merited I think it's good evidence one way or another.

“An article dated 8 February 2013 said the Premier League says its clubs will be punished with a points deduction if they breach new spending controls, and there were comments from Richard Masters and so on.”

If he's right, I think that makes any movement on the sporting sanction more unlikely.

Simon Harrison
2 Posted 08/12/2023 at 17:46:28
Hi Michael, I hadn't realised that this had been started as a new thread... Thank you, and tin hat donned.

Regards your comment at [1]

The only thing I could quickly find was this article by the Graunad;

Premier League clubs face points penalty under new spending rules

It was Scudamore, and not Masters who came up with this brainwave. What a self-serving venal pl****er he was as well. In my opinion only, allegedly, I hasten to add. :/)

By the way, after a quick skim and scan, here is another author by the unfortunately benched David Conn (who used to be excellent) regards "just what the introduction of the PSR was really all about" NB 10 years old and still relevent.

EPL Self interest

Just for your delectation mind Michael hehe

Michael Kenrick
3 Posted 08/12/2023 at 18:29:19
Nice one, Simon.

This from that first link:

Richard Scudamore said the new rules would make it easier for smaller clubs to invest enough to challenge for Europe.

Oh the irony.

Dennis Stevens
4 Posted 09/12/2023 at 13:54:50
I also think that it's not a little ironic that the cack-handed way in which this whole situation has been managed has actually strengthened the case for the Government to impose an independent regulator on the game.

The footballing authorities have advertised their utter incompetence and severely weakened any case they could make for football regulating itself. Arbitrary and inconsistent decisions help to justify the imposition of the proposed new regulator.

Jerome Shields
5 Posted 09/12/2023 at 22:49:27
Thanks, Simon. I am that absorbed in Everton, I did not realise that there was a wider context in the application of Profitability and Sustainability Rules in relation to other clubs

But it does confirm that the current Profitability and Sustainability Rules in their birth seemed to give the impression of redressing what was seen as not being a level playing field and that loses in struggling clubs would not under the rules result in exasperating their financial position. It appears to show that the Premier League and the EFL work together on the rules, though in the EPL case their application can differ.

I have always felt that Everton through our late Chairman and our ex-Chiel Executive Offcer bought into the birth of the Profitability and Sustainability Rules as expressed by those that represented the Premier League, and as stated on this thread. The risks taken by those that run Everton were underwritten by a beliief in these sentiments and Moshiri & Co really did think that they had access to the inside track in dealing with football authorities.

This unfolded as Everton's perilous financial position and the threat of an independent regulator arose.

Everton's co-operation with the Premier League in their presentation to the independent commission was based on the belief that they had access to the inside track regarding the decision. They clearly did not.


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