24/11/2023 26comments  |  Jump to last

Drawing an analogy to chemical doping in athletics, Matthew Syed wites in The Times about how financial doping, and the covering-up thereof, has infected England's top flight to a damaging degree:

"[T]here is a growing crisis of trust in the integrity of the league. We have known for a long time that money counts in football; that a sugar daddy or sovereign wealth fund can take a club to places that 'organic' growth never could.

"But what we are seeing here is subtly different. It is the perception that rich clubs do not merely have the advantage of buying sporting talent but also the ability to evade rules incumbent on smaller rivals."

» Read the full article at The Times

Reader Comments (26)

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Jerome Shields
1 Posted 24/11/2023 at 10:04:30
This article is about the absolute crux of the issue with the Premier League. The setting up of a commission, which was prefixed with the word 'independent', to cover up that it was never independent under the remit of the Premier League's Rules of 2015.

It was never 'independent', but set up as originally intended just to protect the vested interests of the cartel of richer clubs and the Premier League itself. The result being first to sacrifice Everton to ward off government intervention and pay off protesting clubs that may push for it.

Football would be better with a government-appointed independent regulator, so that a level playing field will operate. But the Premier League and the richer clubs will fight that at every turn.

FIFA FFP rules are no different in their objectives or implementation.

David Vaughan
2 Posted 24/11/2023 at 10:22:29
We have to max this media coverage cum onslaught, not just for Everton but for the sake of our (once) beautiful game.

A shoal of so-called minnows(!) can soon strip a carcass.

Mike Gaynes
3 Posted 24/11/2023 at 19:58:13
Rory Smith in the New York Times wrote this morning that what the Premier League needs is a commissioner with integrity, like the NFL or NBA or baseball here.

He is absolutely right.

Rory also says the Premier League owners will never do it.

He is absolutely right.

Peter Hodgson
4 Posted 24/11/2023 at 20:13:02
I've been saying exactly the same for some time now. Not just me. The same thing has been spoken about widely on TW and other forums and it is true. The Premier League has just woken up due to the threat of a regulator being inserted by the government rather than their own (do as you are told) regulator.

The whole thing is unravelling in front of our eyes and I, for one, am as pleased as punch about it. How independent a government regulator will be remains to be seen but it has got to be an improvement on what we have now. I hope it happens soon (no waiting for the next administration) because the long grass will get in the way and we know what that means.

The Premier League have brought this on themselves and deserve all they get. Of course there will be howls of protest (privately and otherwise) from the minority who may be affected adversely, which should be ignored and we, as individuals, should play our part by howling for the change as the Premier League is killing our beautiful game, slowly but surely.

Brendan McLaughlin
5 Posted 24/11/2023 at 20:18:23
Bring on the Government Administered Regulator... GAR for short!

Has to be better surely... erm

Brent Stephens
6 Posted 24/11/2023 at 20:26:23

I wouldn't be surprised if the independent regulator proposal does get kicked into the long grass. The government has recent history of using the long grass, making headline-grabbing announcements (PR job done) that then unsurprisingly get binned or pushed to the back of the queue.

With a general election now very possibly coming up as early as May 2024, their priorities may well be elsewhere. And "recent robust action from the Premier League" might be a convenient excuse for them to now have confidence in the "robust governance" of the Premier League.

I'm speculating.

Neil Copeland
7 Posted 24/11/2023 at 20:47:12
Brent #6,

On the other hand, the Government has an opportunity to potentially win a lot of votes by putting the Premier League in its place.

Like you, I think it's unlikely but I live in hope!

Kieran Kinsella
8 Posted 24/11/2023 at 20:47:33
I've tried to pretend it isn't corrupt for a long time as there is no more point watching it if it is than watching Big Daddy v Giant Haystacks and expecting the latter to win. But clearly it is.

Liverpool field ineligible players in a cup, get a fine. Barnsley do it and get kicked out. Man Utd violate UEFA FFP, no action taken. City and Chelsea's cases are obviously a joke.

The decade old investigation into the Defoe Spurs - Pompey transfer has been rumored to still be ongoing this week but no charges made.

Then obviously you have every VAR decision, every ref appointment etc the division of prize money, the Super Six and the Super League breakaway slap on the wrist.

Sigurdsson banned by the FA; Mendy, Johnson and Greenwood, Partey, Antony not.

Essentially, the powers that be in Fifa and the Premier League have a free meal ticket from the Middle East and Murdoch and the only concern is to preserve that gravy train. So either it has to change or it has to end.

Brent Stephens
9 Posted 24/11/2023 at 20:53:02
Neil, you could be right about the importance of the voting match-goer.
Barry Hesketh
10 Posted 24/11/2023 at 21:02:50
We all realise that setting up a whole new body to oversee football will take time, and lots and lots of it. Back and forth arguments between the clubs and the Premier League, government wanting this aspect or that one within its powers - it'll take eons.

Meanwhile the Premier League will put forth some argument or other that will prevent them from bringing the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City to book, due to the 'imminent' arrival of the new regulator.

I have no doubt that Everton will be the only club to suffer being charged and found guilty, under the present rules.

Eric Haworth
11 Posted 24/11/2023 at 21:11:54
All those who advocates the introduction of the Government Regulator to administer some level of control over our game are getting right to the heart of the problem. Because the greed of the good ship EPL & all who sail on it, has completely corrupted OUR National Sport at all levels, agents, players, managers, officials, owners, the list just goes on,,,,,,,ALL CONTROL HAS BEEN LOST.

We should now do our part to address things by EFC insisting that our appeal is heard by a properly independent Government Regulator, because we have no faith in any administration that believes a club accidentally exceeding the financial cap by £19.5M due to financial incompetence, is more serious & requiring more severe penalties than 6 of their member clubs conspiring behind closed doors with foreign clubs to effectively undermine the whole structure of our National Sport. Surely, this proves beyond any reasonable doubt that the EPL are unfit to administer any part of our National Sport, which should be returned to the FA under the guidance of the Government Regulator. WHAT’S OUR NAME……..EVERTON💙

Barry Rathbone
12 Posted 24/11/2023 at 21:35:38
Ineptitude isn't the same as corruption.
Tony Abrahams
13 Posted 24/11/2023 at 22:06:53
I think it's fair to say that a lot of the people involved in the highest echelons at Everton over the last 25 years have been both inept and corrupt to a certain degree.

The Everton executives and their non-disclosure payoffs must have helped keep the truth away from the fans for years.

I know this is about the Premier League but Everton haven't had their own house in order for years, imo. I also think that the Premier League have proven over the last 7 days that they definitely need to be regulated, but Mother — would you trust the government?

Paul Birmingham
14 Posted 24/11/2023 at 23:12:34
Some rumours today, and City's 115 charges, and it's citing they've been paying double wages, avoiding some of their employees, to paying their income tax.

This is a rumour but it does make you think, all those top earning players bought, declaring contracts payable and giving them money to pay tax with not being hit in the pocket.

Food for thought…

If it's close then they eventually should be in the old NPL Division 4, soon.


Billy Roberts
15 Posted 25/11/2023 at 08:34:35
Excellent thread so far and an excellent piece by Mathew Syed of The Times. The more respected journalists making comments, the better for Everton and football as a whole. Syed's analogy to the Roman Empire crumbling is very apt.

Barry @12,

It may be a deadly combination of ineptitude and corruption?
Either can cause absolute chaos and disparity to a supposed level playing field.

As Mathew Syed says you/we simply can't accept this Man City - Chelsea situation where clubs supported by limitless wealth can ensure legal wrangling causes indefinite avoidance of scrutiny and charge.

Rob Halligan
16 Posted 25/11/2023 at 09:11:43
Kieran # 8…

With regards to the Liverpool fine and Barnsley being kicked out of cups, I said to a mate last night via WhatsApp that Barnsley were kicked out simply because they haven't got £200k to pay a fine. It would have been no benefit whatsoever to the FA fining Barnsley, after all, how much could they pay, so kick them out.

On the other hand, the EFL saw a pot of gold to be made when the RS committed exactly the same thing, so we'll fine them, after all, what's £200k to them, half of which was suspended anyway.

The Premier League, the FA and the EFL, they are all in it for one thing, and one thing only… Greed! Corrupt as fuck, the lot of them!

Tony Everan
17 Posted 25/11/2023 at 22:00:30
Excellent article from Martin Samuel today about the P&S rules created for the the cartel. Worth a read this one. Doesn't seem to be behind the paywall.

Premier League has turned lawyers and accountants into stars

Barry Hesketh
18 Posted 25/11/2023 at 23:55:47
Tony @17,

A very hard-hitting piece by Martin Samuel as you say, I hope every supporter of every Premier League club and beyond reads it, because there are quite a few truths within it.

Also, he's got more than a point as to the reason that Ukraine failed to get a penalty against Italy, they didn't even look at it with VAR, in such an important match. It may have proved inconclusive or not a penalty but to do nothing other than wave away claims seemed pretty odd to me.

Barry Hesketh
19 Posted 26/11/2023 at 00:10:32
Jonathan Northcroft has also written a piece for the Times, about the decision to deduct Everton 10 points, of which my favourite line on first glance was this:

Everton are the child who repeatedly blew its school lunch money on fizzy drinks, but not the prefects who plotted to burn down the gym hall.

Remember, the PSR rules are there for two reasons — to stop clubs deliberately gaming the system, and to protect clubs from going bust.

Whataboutery is invidious but in this instance it seems reasonable for Evertonians to contrast their situation with that of the world's wealthiest club. They will make their statement at a febrile Goodison Park today.

Sorry I haven't got a link to the original article, but Grand Old Team have a transcript of it:

GOT Jonathan Northcroft

Ernie Baywood
20 Posted 26/11/2023 at 00:28:08
It's absolutely the crux of the problem.

And it's exactly why it winds me up when I see anyone defending Everton. We're bang to rights. And we were deceptive. And we gained a sporting advantage, in theory, over clubs who didn't financially dope. And yes, the stadium costs were excluded.

The punishment is severe, but I don't care. It might well be the right punishment. But I do care if it's disproportionate to others.

We should be mad at our club, and mad at the Premier League for the inconsistency of punishments.

But blaming the Premier League for our own stupidity takes away that stance. That's my fear for today – that we're arguing the wrong point. The fan sites statements I've seen are effectively arguing that we should be able to overspend. No-one should.

Ed Prytherch
21 Posted 26/11/2023 at 00:41:33
Having a government regulator will be jumping from the frying pan to the fire. It might start off okay but it will not be long before lobbyists are making the decisions.

The end result will be the same but the real decision-makers will be hidden.

Brendan McLaughlin
22 Posted 26/11/2023 at 00:58:32
Ed #21,

I posted last night "Government Administrative Regulator" or "GAR" for short. See what I did there

It's a play on VAR, by the way, just in case Tony A is reading…

Jerome Shields
23 Posted 26/11/2023 at 09:16:01
Tony #13 and Ernie #20,

Everton were badly managed, both corruption and incompetence having their part. Everton had a central part in the Premier League via Kenwright and Barrett-Baxendale in the framing of the rules and in presenting the case to the government as regards self-regulation.

It was a shock to Kenwright's luvie persona that served him so well and it shut Barret-Baxendale completly up (something we never succeeded in doing) when the Premier League appeared to turn turkey on Everton.

Everton's preparation and presentation was based on a disbelief that this was happening and an appeal for mercy. The Premier League stuck the boot in. But they didn't count on the built-up media influence of Evertonians and mistakenly thought the path was clear to achieve their vested interest agenda.

But that has now proved not the case.

Bobby Mallon
24 Posted 05/12/2023 at 21:01:37
Well the Premier League have just secured their biggest domestic TV deal, for £6.7B.
Andy Finigan
25 Posted 05/12/2023 at 21:20:53
Which is 4% lower than anticipated, according to The Esk.
Ben King
26 Posted 05/12/2023 at 21:28:16
Ernie #20,

Define 'overspend' please?

Because that's the point that Lyndon's excellent article and other very clever minds on ToffeeWeb have concisely made:

The P&S rules are an arse. A large portion of our overspend was due to building a stadium. West Ham and Man City got theirs for free.

We've overspent against the arbitrary rules but the P&S rules are designed to halt smaller clubs with a rich benefactor from elevating to the top table.

Did we fail to pay and suppliers? Or did we default on any costs? No! Hence I would say that we didn't overspend. The stupid rules in place are designed to stabilise the cartel of the Top 6. The Top 6 break various rules and either don't face accountability (see Chelsea & Man City) or have a slap on the wrist: see the breakaway Top 6 and their relatively paltry fine.

So we broke the rules in the same way that women who protested for the vote broke the laws of the land 100 years ago. But I proffer that both rules and laws in those cases are/were ridiculous.

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