10/01/2024 74comments  |  Jump to last

Everton have bolstered their legal team for the club’s appeal against their 10-point deduction by appointing one of the UK’s top barristers.

Laurence Rabinowitz KC is regarded as a “super silk”, one of a select group of barristers renowned for their exceptional legal expertise, and his involvement in the case is an indication of the club’s determination to successfully challenge the historic censure handed down by the Premier League in November for breaching the Premier League's Profitability and Sustainability Rules (PSR).

Everton's appeal against the recommendation by the independent commission and the subsequent points penalty, which was described by the club as “wholly disproportionate and unjust”, is expected to be heard in the coming weeks by a new commission.

According to Paul Joyce in The Times, "Rabinowitz, who specialises in commercial litigation, will lead the appeal and work in tandem with James Segan KC, who represented Everton at the original hearing. His appointment is regarded by Everton as a coup given he is in huge demand and they believe he falls alongside Lord Pannick KC, who has been hired by Manchester City in their fight against 115 Premier League charges, and Jonathan Crow CVO, KC, as the best in the United Kingdom."

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Joyce reports that the appeal will focus on the regulatory process followed by the original three-man panel in determining that Everton deserved a bigger points deduction than the one levied against Portsmouth for going into administration 14 years ago, with no new evidence being heard. 


Reader Comments (74)

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Michael Kenrick
1 Posted 10/01/2024 at 14:41:04
To Stephen Davies:

Many thanks for posting this, presumably from Twitter. Not sure of the provenance, but it has the appearance of being genuine, and hopefully good news that Everton off the field appear to be upping their game — not before time.

Kevin Molloy
3 Posted 10/01/2024 at 14:53:15
'kin batter him Larry mate!
Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
4 Posted 10/01/2024 at 15:11:30
.. . and Andy Burnham as his assistant.
That letter was Gold.
Bill Gall
5 Posted 10/01/2024 at 15:23:36
Shame he never represented the club at the first hearing, but then I suppose the previous management did not want to pay his retainer fee.
Stu Darlington
6 Posted 10/01/2024 at 15:29:20
Can he play up front for the rest of the season?
Jay Harris
7 Posted 10/01/2024 at 15:37:54
No but he can have the same effect if he gets us 5 or 6 points back Stu.
Gerry Quinn
8 Posted 10/01/2024 at 15:48:35
Could be spending another £19 million over the annual budget if he is a top Lawyer!!! Wish him the very best of luck to get anything back from those footballing numbskulls in charge...
Danny O’Neill
9 Posted 10/01/2024 at 15:55:01
Well, having been guilty of being found to overspend the price of a half-decent player, I hope he wipes the floor with them and, if as credible as he sounds, makes recommendations for change.

Stop this self-licking ice cream that is the Premier League and make it accountable to independent regulators.

Rob Halligan
10 Posted 10/01/2024 at 15:58:58
Will his fee count towards P & S?

So much for the person who told me the case was being heard early this month, with a decision by the end of the month. Never believe anything a total stranger tells you! 😡😡😡

Andy Finigan
11 Posted 10/01/2024 at 16:04:02
I hope he goes further, Danny, and tells them the case should be scrapped (null and void).

Firstly, no structured penalties were in place that had been voted for by the 20 Premier League clubs.

And secondly, they were out of their own allotted time to charge us.

John Wilson
12 Posted 10/01/2024 at 16:11:42
Why now?

A silk would have said earlier don't disclose unless the Premier League prove the sanction.

An Appeal now this late in the day seems arbitrary.

Playing Devil's Advocate, "Er, you gave us the evidence to prosecute. Why would we do you any favours when our remit is to investigate and prosecute?"

Raymond Fox
13 Posted 10/01/2024 at 16:13:32
He will be expensive but I think it will be money well spent.
It shows we mean business and still think we have been wrongly penalised.
Anthony Flack
14 Posted 10/01/2024 at 16:26:58
I have just started the application for Legal Aid...
Jerome Shields
15 Posted 10/01/2024 at 16:34:23
He would first all need to get Everton's narrative up to speed. They should have had him appointed last June.
Paul Hewitt
16 Posted 10/01/2024 at 16:35:51
We could get Perry Mason, and I still don't think it would make a difference. There's no way the Premier League will change their minds and give us any points back.
Tony Everan
17 Posted 10/01/2024 at 16:42:23
“Why now?” is a good question.

His appointment says to me that we have a very solid case to possibly get more than a reduced point deduction. An indication that there's enough meat on the legal bones to get the sporting sanction overturned and given a financial one?

Also, timing wise the hearing must be three or four weeks away, or more, if the eminent Mr Rabinowitz is only just being hired.

Dave Abrahams
18 Posted 10/01/2024 at 16:45:50
I know it's not a court case but, when Stevan Gerrard was defended by a top barrister in his case over assaulting a fella in Southport and he was found not guilty, he got all of the money back he had paid his brief because of the not guilty verdict. I read this in the Liverpool Echo after the case was sorted.

I don't know if this would apply to Everton in this case. Maybe Peter Quinn would have a view on this and how we are likely to fare in our fight to get all or some of our points back.

John Chambers
19 Posted 10/01/2024 at 16:48:59

I'd just thought the same myself but, as this is not a court case, I doubt the Premier League will pay our costs if we win.

Dave Abrahams
20 Posted 10/01/2024 at 16:54:08
John (19),

Yes, I imagine Everton wouldn't get their fees back in this case.

Rob Halligan
21 Posted 10/01/2024 at 16:57:09
Paul #16.

It's not down to the Premier League to decide if we get any points back, it's down to the appeal board, and if they decide in our favour, then the points are given back.

Darryl Ritchie
22 Posted 10/01/2024 at 17:08:37
When is this hearing going to happen?
Duncan McDine
23 Posted 10/01/2024 at 17:30:46
I'll admit, I had to google what the hell KC stood for. When first reading the original post, I thought it was odd that the finest legal brains in our country all came from Kansas City.

Anyway, with my obviously limited knowledge, I'd like to think we stand a good chance of at least reducing the punishment.

Derek Knox
24 Posted 10/01/2024 at 17:35:22
Rob @10,

"Never believe anything a total stranger tells you! 😡😡😡"

Don't take sweets from them either, can result in a very sore arse!

Not talking from experience, by the way, my friends Tarquin, Sebastian, Jeremy and Quentin have all said as much! :-)

Graham Fylde
25 Posted 10/01/2024 at 17:45:05

I think your stranger has got mixed up with the timeframe for looking at P&S for the latest accounting period.

Decision by Monday, from what I've read with clickbait sites churning our Forest and us as vulnerable. Jungle drums are saying we are just about clear of another transgression.

Brian Williams
26 Posted 10/01/2024 at 17:59:10

That was a right travesty of justice that one!

Six minutes later, Gerrard approached McGee, who was still at the bar. Gerrard's friend John Doran landed the first blow, jabbing his elbow into McGee's face. As McGee reeled backwards, Gerrard thought he was about to be attacked and reacted with punches.

Ian Smith, another member of Gerrard's party, joined in. Doran and Smith then kicked McGee.

Money can't buy you love but it can buy you a fucking jury.

Brent Stephens
27 Posted 10/01/2024 at 18:01:17
John #12,

“A silk would have said earlier don't disclose unless Premier League prove the sanction. An Appeal now this late in the day seems arbitrary.”

Struggling to make sense of that, John. “Prove the sanction”. You mean prove the allegation?

Don't disclose what?

Why is the appeal “late in the day”. It was, as far as know, made within the time limit.

What is arbitrary about an appeal?

Brendan McLaughlin
28 Posted 10/01/2024 at 18:06:54
Darryl #22,

The date hasn't been made public but I'd be very surprised if it doesn't happen this month.

Kieran Kinsella
29 Posted 10/01/2024 at 18:10:10
"Super silk" doesn't seem up to much. He lost a case when representing Berezovsky versus Roman Abrahamovich.

The Mike Walker of KCs.

Kieran Kinsella
30 Posted 10/01/2024 at 18:17:41
So, according to Blackstone Chambers rankings, the old attorney we had was a Tier 3, so kind of an MK Dons type.

This guy is Tier 1 at least so Premier League level. Better than nothing, I guess.

Barry Rathbone
32 Posted 10/01/2024 at 18:45:09
I'm going say it - "dentures"
Dave Abrahams
33 Posted 10/01/2024 at 18:45:22
Kieran (29),

Maybe Abrahamovich made him an offer he couldn't refuse?

I think there's loads of bent judges, briefs and especially bizzies. Well, being honest, there's loads of bent people everywhere!

Mark Ryan
34 Posted 10/01/2024 at 19:04:38
Super Silk was his name when he was working at Blackpool
Simon Harrison
35 Posted 10/01/2024 at 19:04:38
Just one pertinent question, if I may?

If the Premier League survival of Everton FC, and the potential takeover of the club could have been (and possibly still is) heavily dependent on the result of the Independent Commission's findings, then why in the name of Hades didn't Moshiri get the legal 'A Team' in the first place?

Our current owner has not demonstrated one iota of critical thinking to make anyone else think that he is a successful businessman and a self-made billionaire!

The more you look at Moshiri's career, the more you come to think (or realise maybe..?) that he is just a useful 'tool' for a much more business savvy, and financially wealthy 'persona non grata'.

John Raftery
36 Posted 10/01/2024 at 19:56:29
What a mess! Profit and Sustainability Rules, VAR, KC appointments, asterisks littering league tables. So much for the simple game. Led by charlatans and careerists it seems keen on destroying itself at the elite level.

Is there anyone at the top capable of stepping back and asking where is all this taking the sport and the industry? I am unconvinced a regulatory body will improve matters. It might well make matters worse. The recent history of them in this country does not augur well.

Yet, in the absence of leadership and integrity within the game, it is hard to imagine an alternative.

Brent Stephens
37 Posted 10/01/2024 at 20:09:02
John #39.

The game has sown the seeds of its own destruction (to borrow a phrase from that Marx fella).

Colin Glassar
38 Posted 10/01/2024 at 20:18:08
I don't know why we just don't use the Citizen's Advice Bureau. They've helped me in the past.

Good luck, Mr Rabinowitz.

Billy Roberts
39 Posted 10/01/2024 at 20:29:51
Barry @32,

You didn't say it well.

Did your dentures fall out?

John Raftery
40 Posted 10/01/2024 at 20:36:25

I don't think anyone within the club, including Moshiri, saw a points deduction coming. To be fair, I don't think anyone saw a 10-point deduction coming. I certainly didn't.

Dave Abrahams
41 Posted 10/01/2024 at 21:09:48
Simon (35) I think you are asking the wrong man that question, the board of directors were running the club and knew the ins and outs of what was going on, they insisted everything was in order and we had no need to worry about the commission.

Well let’s see how the appeal goes.

Michael Bennet
42 Posted 10/01/2024 at 21:32:12
Known are luck we will get it resinded and then get another one for 15 points in the mean time the shite b team are going to another final...
John Wilson
43 Posted 10/01/2024 at 21:38:12
Brent as above:

An Appeal is not late here but an Appeal can mean a challenge and not just to challenge a judge's order as normal for an Appeal, which is review insofar as the judge was wrong to make that court order.

Everton should not have handed over the books, ie Disclosure… normal procedure is disclosure must be proportionate, certainly for a commercial situation as here on our facts it was incredibly naive.

Michael Kenrick
44 Posted 10/01/2024 at 22:10:36

I suspect there was no way the club could have resisted 'disclosure' as you call it. They had to justify monies spent and the only way to do that was with documents – 40,000 of them – and arguments to go with.

The huge strategic mistake the club made was to ever admit they had breached PSR. They should have maintained the arguments that kept their calculation of the net loss below £105M and stuck to their guns.

But too late now. No new evidence means no new or rehashed arguments to justify outgoings that have not been allowed. They have to go for the lack of explanation justifying the 10-point deduction, and everything we've heard since surrounding that.

The terms of the appeal differ from a court of law and are defined in the Premier League's own closed-shop rules.

Don Alexander
45 Posted 10/01/2024 at 23:01:05
Michael, you're dead right on all counts. "Our" disclosure was mandatory only by way of Moshiri's defence, long voiced as credible by his muppet minions in the boardroom.

Moshiri deciding at the last minute to abandon his long-argued baseless defence in favour of coughing the job screwed us to the wide.

Once again, as he has throughout his appalling tenure as owner (and spare me hearing praise of him on account of the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock please) spread our club's knicker-less ass right over a barrel to allow all and sundry to have their way, to our massive cost.

He makes the ludicrous Peter Ridsdale at Leeds years ago look like a maestro owner.

Derek Knox
46 Posted 11/01/2024 at 01:41:57
Please excuse my scepticism, but as many have alluded already "closing the stable door after Shergar has disappeared" is not in my opinion going to achieve a great deal. Especially when you are dealing with a cartel of corruption and nefarious decision-making.

Add to that, the question: What is a Barrister, KC, or even Devil's Advocate? They are professional liars, and economists of the truth or facts! That is why most migrate to politics, and continue their very well remunerated, but somewhat easier existence.

Now here's the dichotomy: I hope he succeeds, but very much doubt he will, and the cost to the club, as Rob @ 10, implied, will that put us further into the brown stuff?

The appeals board, like referees and VARs, are extremely unlikely to admit to errors, and even less likely to apologise.

Peter Quinn
47 Posted 11/01/2024 at 06:49:50
In my article dated 4.12.23, I described David Pannick KC, the barrister leading the Manchester City legal team, as the Lionel Messi of the Bar.

If it is true that Mr Rabinowitz is now leading our legal team, then it is an excellent appointment and, based on what I have read and heard about him, we now have the equivalent of Cristiano Ronaldo playing for us!

However, as Michael has correctly said, we are bound by the Premier League Rules in terms of the appeal and most importantly we have pleaded guilty to the charge. None of us have had sight of the appeal documents, we do not know the basis of the appeal.

Most of what has been written in the press etc is pure conjecture and I do fully understand the cynicism. This appointment is not going to be cheap. What I think it does indicate is that 777 Partners, who must be funding this, have no intention of allowing us to become the sacrificial lamb. They are to be applauded for this.

We still have no idea when the appeal is taking place, who the members of the appeal panel are and if, for example, the decision of the European Court in the “Super League” case is going to make a big difference. It appears we will know by Monday if there are going to be any other PSR charges facing our club.

In the meantime, 3 points on Sunday would be fantastic. See you down the Goodison Road.

Brian Harrison
48 Posted 11/01/2024 at 10:22:37
Well as many have said why wasn't this man hired for the first hearing. Everton's problem is they have admitted guilt, so it makes the job of this man a lot more difficult, and if they believed they hadn't transgressed the rules then if they hadn't pleaded guilty this man would have had a better chance. I remember Guardiola being interviewed a day or so after the 10 points deduction, and was asked about where he thought this left City, to which he said the big difference is Everton have admitted they broke the rules and City haven't.

This coming Monday will be very interesting as this is when the Premier league inform clubs if anybody has transgressed the P&S rules. I just hope that Everton have stayed within the limits otherwise the best barrister in the World wont be able to help us.

Tony Waring
50 Posted 11/01/2024 at 11:43:25
I see where you're coming from, Brian, but it's a bit like many subpostmasters/mistresses. They were'nt guilty either but they were still clobbered nevertheless. Sometimes the law is indeed an ass!
Brian Harrison
51 Posted 11/01/2024 at 12:29:05

The sub-postmasters were wrongly convicted because the judiciary believed in computer evidence as well as corrupt Post Office and Fujitsu employers.

In our case, it wasn't a faulty computer to blame, it was our owner a supposed accountant and Chaiman and financial director.

Just listening to a reporter on the radio this morning who said an agent has told him that around 80% of Premier League clubs may have broken the P&S rules. So Monday may be a very interesting day indeed.

Should more clubs be found to have transgressed the rules, it does bring into question whether the rules are fit for purpose.
I have believed for a long time there shouldn't be an FFP in Europe or a P&S rule in the Premier League.

Allow clubs to spend what they want, but make it a rule that no owner can leave a club in a worse financial position than when they took over. How do you implement it? Simple: you make every owner sign a legally binding bond that they will be liable for any debt apart from what they inherited.

Let's be very clear: this was brought in by the cartel of clubs who didn't want anybody like Man City to come in and buy who they want and therefore challenge the cartel.

Kevin Molloy
52 Posted 11/01/2024 at 13:19:17
The key thing is the competitive advantage point. I reckon that's why we've retained this chap.

Competitive advantage within this Premier League is just such a gigantic nonsense. Chelsea have spent a billion pounds this season, but oh yes, no competitive advantage there… none whatsoever.

Brian Wilkinson
53 Posted 11/01/2024 at 18:51:38
Three of our 4 board members were relieved of their duties, and we lost the last remaining board member, who passed away on the eve of the announcement.

As these were the ones who were dealing with accounts and assuring the Premier League everything was above board, I think bringing this top guy in will give a good account and have a lot going in his favour with regards to how the first hearing had so many pitfuls, as none of those responsible are no longer at the club, so had no defence people to attend their actions.

This guy will use this as an unjust unfairness and will have all the clout to turn it in our favour.

We should have appointed this guy for the first hearing, but I reckon he will give us a very good chance of winning our appeal.

Better late than never.

Laurie Hartley
54 Posted 11/01/2024 at 21:00:39
Don # 45 - I agree with you that Farhad Moshiri's reign as our owner has been a cavalcade of mistakes, blunders, overspending, etc, but if we are going to criticise him for them surely we have to acknowledge that he has gotten 2 things right:-

The decision to build a new stadium.

The appointment of Colin Chong, a man with a proven track record in large scale construction projects, to run that particular show.

As far as the appeal is concerned, I will be surprised if we get even one point back, silk or no silk.

Dyche has got it right - we will have to decide our own destiny on the pitch.

Don Alexander
55 Posted 11/01/2024 at 22:17:38
Laurie, as good as the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock looks, my fears are that the now admitted misconduct of our (alleged) owner and the hugely stupid expenditure he permitted or caused that led to his offence will have had a vastly horrible impact on his personal wealth.

To me, he knows he has to sell up entirely, the stadium still way off being fully funded, and has on account of his misconduct now made himself a mere herring sparring in a sea full of sharks........

To the club's and fans' ultimate cost of course.

John Keating
56 Posted 12/01/2024 at 02:35:34
Yet another overpaid scumbag who will charge God knows what to challenge his best mates representing the Premier League.

The whole lot of them are charlatans, corrupt arseholes.

Look at the corrupt legal lot involved in the Post Office business.

Wouldn't trust one of them.

Laurie Hartley
58 Posted 12/01/2024 at 11:08:21
Don # 45,

He will be taking a bath alright but according to Forbes his current net worth is US$3.1 Billion or £2.8 Billion. If I remember correctly he was worth £1.2 Billion when he bought us. So if that's true and he loses whatever he has put in, he is still going to be worth maybe £2 Billion – that will soften the blow.

Yes, we have done it tough over the last few years thanks to him and his former board and we may have more to come but I believe we will get through it somehow or other.

Just call us the Indomitables.

Anthony Hawkins
59 Posted 12/01/2024 at 13:03:36
I too initially questioned why appoint a silk now but, when it came to writing it, had to acknowledge a couple of elements that would have stopped that.

1. Moshiri naively assumed his own innocence and went in expecting a kind outcome.

2. The admittance of guilt was forced on the club. A little presumptive, but when asked how the club pleads with the removal of 'excuses', there was only ever one response, especially without proper legal representation.

3. Lack of funding. Until 777 Partners pitched in, the club wouldn't have had the funding to support top representation.

4. The Post Office scandal.

Ignoring the first point as it was sheer naivety, the newly appointed Rabinowitz now actually has context, evidence and precedence he can present a solid challenge back to the panel.

Should the appeal be successful, great. If the appeal is unsuccessful, the outcome will be even clearer than day that the Premier League don't care and are abusing their powers – which then heads straight into the current Post Office scandal where senior officials were corrupt. The Premier League will not want that exposure.

I believe we'll get a reduction of points lost, but not convinced we'll regain them all.

Picking up on the 80% of Premier League clubs falling foul of the PSRs, are the Premier League really going to continue to deduct 10 points from 19 clubs? Just not seeing it.

Brian Williams
60 Posted 12/01/2024 at 13:28:12
I think some may be grossly over-estimating what a "top silk" costs.
Rob Halligan
61 Posted 12/01/2024 at 14:49:48
Richard Masters (Premier League CEO), and Rick Parry (EFL CEO) to appear before the DCMS, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, next Tuesday.

No idea what for so far, but could be interesting!

Brian Williams
62 Posted 12/01/2024 at 14:56:09

Hopefully Andy Burnham's had a word in somebody's shell like and told 'em to tell the Masters give us back our 10 points, oh and throw in another 3 for our inconvenience.

Anthony Hawkins
63 Posted 12/01/2024 at 15:14:36
@Rob Halligan - probably for a CBE or knighthood.
Brendan McLaughlin
64 Posted 12/01/2024 at 15:21:28
Rob #61,

Probably to brief the DCMS on the outcome of Everton's appeal against the 10-point deduction which is due to be heard next Wednesday.

Kieran Kinsella
65 Posted 12/01/2024 at 16:02:26
For private casework Lamb Building Chambers has adopted the Bar Council’s Standard Contractual Terms for the Supply of Legal Services by Barristers to Authorised Persons 2020.

The following hourly rates are intended to provide some general guidance to fees for attendance at court in standard cases.

King’s Counsel: £350 to £500

Counsel of over 20 years: £200 to £350

Junior Counsel between 10 and 20 years in practice: £150 to £275

Junior Counsel between 5 and 10 years in practice: £125 to £200

Junior Counsel up to 5 years in practice: £75 to £150

So how many hours will this fellow be working? I wouldn't have thought it would take very long to come up with a decent argument then the hearing itself so maybe a few hours? So we are probably on the hook for a grand. Hopefully it is worth it.

Anthony Hawkins
66 Posted 12/01/2024 at 21:13:06
@Kieran have you ever worked with lawyers or solicitors? They’ll take as long as they can get away with.
Stephen Davies
67 Posted 12/01/2024 at 21:24:05
And Alan Malkinson says ' Thank God for that' !
Jim Wilson
68 Posted 12/01/2024 at 21:26:03
I am sticking with my original thought that someone at the Premier League told Bill Kenwright co-operate with the Premier League and you will get away with a fine.

And I am hoping that Andy Burnham has it nailed. The process was flawed so the penalty has to be null and void.

Admitting guilt is not saying we deserve an outrageous 10-point deduction. It is saying we went a bit over our spend but there were mitigating circumstances, we expect a small fine, like what happened to Leicester City.

Jim Lloyd
69 Posted 13/01/2024 at 11:10:57
I agree Jim. I think the amateurish way Kenwright ran our club like his own fiefdom, has led our club to near the end of the road. He had the chance to sell to Sheik Mansour and offered him the same terms as Moshiri. To invest, not takeover like Sheik Mansour did with Man City.

At last, the club has made a move that will give us the best opportunity to overturn this decision by the "Independent" commission.

Andy Burnham has brought out in the open, the flaws in the decision. Hiring the is man is a top class move. It follows our motto and gives us the best chance of justice.

Only the best is good enough!

Brian (53) I forget which one of the directors said it but I'm sure the statement went something like this " We feel it is best for the club if we resign (likely with a decent payoff) We're so sorry to make this decision as we loved the club' but we feel it's in the club's best interest.

Something along those lines. It seemed rather odd to me that the ones responsible fopr the good running of the club, all buggered off before defending our club.

Jim Lloyd
70 Posted 13/01/2024 at 11:35:27
John (36) spot on.
Jim Wilson
71 Posted 13/01/2024 at 17:22:41
Jim @ 69 - I find it hard to believe that Bill Kenwright didn't leave behind some kind of statement outlining the communications he had with the Premier League and how he perceived things.
Brian Hennessy
72 Posted 13/01/2024 at 17:27:54
My sources have told me that on foot of recent developments, our owner has approached ITV with a view to them making a new documentary.

The working title is "Mr Moshiri vs The Premier League"

Barry Hesketh
73 Posted 14/01/2024 at 10:27:53
I copied and pasted the following from Grand Old Team, where Martin Samuels reveals that from August this year, Profit and Sustainability rules will be re-jigged to become more aligned to the UEFA model.

Here’s the Martin Samuel article from the Times…he has no concrete evidence that we will be charged on Monday.

This is how convinced the Premier League is of the worth of its profit and sustainability rules. From August 2024, they change. Quite how isn’t yet in the public domain, but the expectation is for a system more aligned with the Uefa model, focusing on wages to turnover. So, on Monday, the likelihood is that Everton and Nottingham Forest will be charged and, if found guilty, potentially relegated, for falling foul of a system rated so highly by its enforcers that it has eight months to live. There’s governance for you. Watch out, the Post Office.

Changing profit and sustainability rules (PSR) is a tacit admission that, in the present state, they are no longer fit for purpose. This would figure as the system hasn’t really evolved since 2014 and does not take into account changes in the football landscape. Yet, while admitting that the rules need updating, the punishments have become draconian if Everton’s ten-point deduction is now the benchmark. This will come to its head when Manchester City eventually answer 115 charges for breaching rules in a system that has already been discarded. It could be that Everton may even pass PSR, as they will exist in August, having suffered relegation in May under the redundant system.

And rules are rules, as we often hear. Clubs break rules as they were, not as they will be at a future date. But punishment shouldn’t be punishment, not on such a ruinous scale, when so much is in flux. There should be proportionate tempering that takes this into account. Instead, the Premier League insists on donning the black cap. Peter Allen and Gwynne Evans were the last men sentenced to death in Britain, and were hanged on August 13, 1964. Capital punishment was later suspended and finally abolished in 1969. The Premier League, meanwhile, is intent on hurrying through capital sentences, in the weeks before capital punishment is done. And is the sentence fitting the crime? In the present five-year period — from summer 2019 to summer 2024 — Everton are 18th in the Premier League net spend table, with only Luton Town and Brighton & Hove Albion below them. It is hard, then, to view this club as the epitome of all that is wrong in football.
The argument that financial controls are what makes English football competitive also foundered in a week when this season’s success story, Aston Villa, and the bright sparks of last year, Newcastle United, both admitted, through the Villa head coach, Unai Emery, and the Newcastle chief executive, Darren Eales, that they would have to sell good players to comply with PSR rules. These are two great clubs finally in a position to compete after so long in the wilderness. And forcing them to shed talent to meet regulations that are being consigned to the bin before the end of that same transfer window is of benefit to the English game?
So Everton and Forest are lawyering up. Everton have engaged Laurence Rabinowitz KC to fight their case, Forest have enlisted Nick De Marco KC. They’ll be condemned for doing that, too, if City’s experience is anything to go by. Many feel it unfair that City’s lawyers have slowed the progress of the 115 charges to a crawl, yet it’s a strange world in which a club can’t use lawyers to fight a legal process.
Those who have watched Mr Bates vs The Post Office will know what can happen on entering court armed with little beyond a feeling of righteousness. The clubs may not win but, with the Premier League coming over all masterful, they would be mad not to meet a legal challenge head-on.

If this were a gold-standard system, if it took into account the way the game has evolved through ownership, transfer fees, compound interest, inflation and a hundred other tiny factors, the punishments would be more palatable.

As it is, a soon-to-be discarded system could be about to do immeasurable, potentially irreparable, harm. Profit and sustainability? As Premier League entities, Everton and Forest may yet be regulated to death.

Dave Abrahams
74 Posted 14/01/2024 at 11:14:53
This could be a saver for the Premier League as well with them agreeing to abandon the rules as they stand now and starting afresh in August 2024, or being forced to abandon the rules by Everton and others questioning them.
Christine Foster
75 Posted 14/01/2024 at 11:35:48
Dave, it has long been my held belief that the Premier League will not carry through with the charges against Man City. It's not in their interests to do so, shaming the world's best club is akin to putting a loaded gun to your own head.

That they would change the rules to come to another way forward was and is always going to happen. The reality, as Martin Samuels says, is that Everton would be / could be, forced out of the league before it happens.

To justify what? Rules that were never fair? No, for the sake of the management, no one else, of the Premier League.

Everything should be wiped now, before it becomes apparent that several top clubs and half of the rest of the league are likely to default at some point.

Bite the bullet, Masters. You fucked up thinking you could play hardball with us. As soon as the verdict was in, the comparative punishment for Man City was so bad it could not (and will not) happen.

It should end now or the Premier League is finished.

James Hughes
76 Posted 14/01/2024 at 12:11:47
Christine, I believe you are correct maily because Man City will not engage with Premier League and do not accept the charges. They will filibuster and delay, deny until the sun dies.

We were daft enough to hold our hands up and assume we would be treated fairly. A classic case of "What would Everton do" bullshit, that was spouted by our late Chairman.

it has been shown from more than one source that the rules have been retro fitted and are still not in the official Premier League Handbook.

Ian Bennett
77 Posted 14/01/2024 at 20:26:10
Sounds like we are getting done again tomorrow.
Nicholas Ryan
78 Posted 16/01/2024 at 12:58:53
I've heard from "usually reliable sources" that Rabinowitz's fee will not be an hourly rate, it will be an 'all-in' fee (preparation and hearing) and the fee will be £100,000 (plus VAT).

While some may scream at this, consider 2 points;

1. This man is one of the top 2 or 3 advocates in the world.

2. Hiring Lawrence Rabinowitz KC for a week, is cheaper than hiring André Gomes for a week!!

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