16/01/2024 89comments  |  Jump to last

Premier League CEO Richard Masters was grilled about many aspects of football governance ahead of the publication of a Bill aimed at bringing in an independent regulator for the domestic game. 

Masters was speaking alongside his counterpart from the English Football League, Rick Parry, at a Culture, Media and Sport Parliamentary Commission held at Westminster on Tuesday, where he was appearing in relation to the lack of a so-called "new deal" for the distribution of financial benefits between the Premier League and EFL.

Watch the full Committee hearing

The specific case of Everton's alleged breach of Profitability and Sustainability rules, the current points deduction under appeal and the Premier League's decision to refer Everton to another independent commission later this season were raised but Masters defended the League's actions, saying:

“We take our rulebook very seriously. It’s a handshake between all 20 clubs: all clubs look each other in the eye and so will comply with these rules. And they expect the board, if clubs don’t comply with those rules, to take action.

Article continues below video content


"Obviously we have to balance – Everton are a very important member of the Premier League and ever-present. We also have to think about the other 19 clubs and their fan bases and the decisions that we make.”

Everton Fan Advisory Board Chair, Dave Kelly, has since written to Committee Chair, Dame Caroline Dineage, raising his concerns over comments made by Masters regarding the sanctions framework for spending breaches.

 

Reader Comments (89)

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Pete Neilson
1 Posted 16/01/2024 at 08:23:12
Richard Masters combines Pontius Pilate, in washing his hands of responsibility, and Paula Vennells, in his refusal to see anything wrong with his organisation. He's in front of a select committee at 9:30 this morning. It can be streamed from 10am at:

Link

Should be about the new TV deal but interesting to see if his cack-handed leadership results in a grilling by MPs.

As Henry Winter put it yesterday:

Tone-deaf statement by the Premier League sums up the organisation under Richard Masters. Even if you agree with the importance of PSR, you have to show some understanding of what potential charges mean on a human level, to supporters and staff of the two clubs.

David Vaughan
2 Posted 16/01/2024 at 10:14:20
Watching the Select Committee.

Is it me or is Richard Masters looking more and more like Robert Maxwell??

David Vaughan
3 Posted 16/01/2024 at 10:16:53
The woman sitting behind Masters is wearing a bold Everton sweatshirt! Go girl!
Kunal Desai
4 Posted 16/01/2024 at 10:38:45
Masters made to look like a clown when questioned. The fucking imbecile needs to removing.
Danny O’Neill
5 Posted 16/01/2024 at 10:58:23
Did Masters really say "It's the fans that matter and, without fans, we don't have a game?"

I guess he'll consider going to Goodison tomorrow night?

Where is that blue paint?

David Vaughan
6 Posted 16/01/2024 at 11:29:43
Richard Masters of the Soundbite. Has he ever actually answered a question in his life?

In my opinion, a slimeball that perfectly suits the Premier League. The game is broken, we all know that. But, rather like Everton, those in power seem never to be held to account (despite such talking shops as today's Select Committee).

Paul Hewitt
7 Posted 16/01/2024 at 11:36:12
This government panel is clearly saying we have been treated unfairly.

We will get the 10 points back. I'm convinced.

Jerome Shields
8 Posted 16/01/2024 at 11:43:20
Masters came across as arrogant and the Premier League and the Football League seem totally in cahoots..

Everton are going to get sanctions though as the existing sanctions will be reduced and the new sanctions will be less.

Then you can frame it and put it on the wall along with the Oumar Naisse sanction as Everton being the only club to be subject to such sanctions.

Tony Waring
9 Posted 16/01/2024 at 11:48:30
Just read that West Ham have reported losses of £232 million. Maybe Mr Masters and his mates could organise a whip-round??

Incidentally, what are Master's credentials for his job? Does he support any team, for instance? Does he know anything at all about football and the people who live for it from week to week?

Phil Wood
10 Posted 16/01/2024 at 12:02:21
Absolutely seething.

Just listened to Masters giving the soft-shoe shuffle during his "interrogation". The lady questioning him just allowed him off with basically a "no comment" answer when questioned Man about City.

Then Simon Jordan "off the back of a fag packet" suggests what any interrogator worth their salt should have followed up with. Brilliant… but too late for us.

Who chose the tea lady to ask the questions? Unbelievable!

Danny O’Neill
11 Posted 16/01/2024 at 12:02:51
I just watched the Commons Committee session.

Firstly, the cheeky shit (Ray, you can shout at me now).

For Masters to say "It's the fans that matter. Without the fans we don't have a game".

So why punish the supporters?

Astonishing.

In terms of credentials, he is a cricketer. No disrespect to cricket followers. He's welcome to come and sit or stand with us too.

He and his equally unqualified sidekick got a proper grilling and the jury were on our side. I can see this taking a few twists and turns now there is political involvement.

As well as seeing the young lady sat right behind the rat with her Everton shirt on, the best was from the moderator when she labelled the football chant at them: "You don't know what you're doing".

Jack Convery
12 Posted 16/01/2024 at 12:13:48
I just caught the end of the Masters & Parry grilling, a pity it wasn't a hanging drawing and quartering event.

All I will say is the Sorting Hat at Hogwarts would have no doubt about putting Masters in Slitheren and Parry in Huffle Puff Houses, though personally I would have expelled them, as they're a right couple of Muggles.

The Toffee Lady sitting behind Masters, what a girl. I hope you had a Bogey filled Toffee mint to offer him!

Les Callan
13 Posted 16/01/2024 at 12:45:21
Have just watched the parliamentary debate. Came across as very sympathetic to us. MPs had done their research and were well briefed (maybe by Andy Burnham?). Very promising.

Chair summed up by virtually telling Masters and the Kopite Parry that they don't know what they are doing. If we don't come out of this well, it'll be as big a coverup as the Post Office debacle.

Brent Stephens
14 Posted 16/01/2024 at 13:06:56
If I heard it correctly, Masters was saying in effect that the charges against Man City are not PSR matters, but other matters.
John Keating
15 Posted 16/01/2024 at 13:13:00
Watched the debate. It was obvious Masters was the party villain and Parry the good guy. I didn't seem much agreement between them.

God how I wish Burnham was still an MP and on that committee. He would have roasted Masters in the Everton questioning.

Suppose we're lucky they brought it up but Masters was uncomfortable. Masters mentioned there were only penalties for a breach and the “independent” committee had discretion on penalties.

Burnham would had his throat then!

Big kudos to the girl behind Masters. Star!!!

Dave Abrahams
16 Posted 16/01/2024 at 13:32:41
Jack,

That lady was Julie secretary of Everton's FAB.

The Labour MP for Ealing had a good go for Everton as well.

Sean Mitchell
17 Posted 16/01/2024 at 13:55:48
Rick and his band of survivors vs the walking dead.

It feels like that with Everton vs the corrupt Premier League.
Outnumbered, but not down.

Rob Halligan
18 Posted 16/01/2024 at 14:07:03
It was funny when one or two of the DCMS panel asked Masters what he meant by kicking something or other into the grass (can't remember exactly what it was) at the last meeting they had? Masters had no re-collection of such a question, and therefore couldn't answer the question.

A bit like every other question he was asked, always trying to skip an answer. Jeez, I bet he had difficulty trying to remember his name when sitting a school exam!

Soren Moyer
19 Posted 16/01/2024 at 14:25:40
Did that bastard call Everton a small club indirectly when speaking about the rules being the same for all clubs!!!?
Brendan McLaughlin
21 Posted 16/01/2024 at 14:31:51
He did, Soren.

No doubt he'll be appointed Everton manager at some point in the future.

Danny O’Neill
22 Posted 16/01/2024 at 14:37:53
Yes Soren, he did.

Patronising and confirms their star struck mentality in those allowed to spend and those who are penalised for trying to better themselves.

After all, it's what Man City and Chelsea done.

Man City a different type of case and no date set.

I wish I could sit next to him at a match.

Steve Cotton
23 Posted 16/01/2024 at 15:01:05
Just watched the parliamentary review.

One thing stood out was that Masters stated the Premier League do not set the tariffs for breaking PSR rules, the independent panel do.

But surely he requested a 12-point reduction at the outset, so he was trying to influence the panel's decision when sentencing.

And another thing I noticed was that he was a complete helmet.

Steve Cotton
24 Posted 16/01/2024 at 15:07:22
If they are changing the rules to ensure that clubs don't spend more than they earn, why not bring in a wage cap? Say £105 million (does that number ring any bells?)

The Top 8 would then have to be careful of what they offer, so Salah getting £20M a season would have to be at the expense of probably 5 others.

Rob Halligan
25 Posted 16/01/2024 at 15:20:13
Gerry,

It was great watching Julie behind Masters, as she was clearly laughing and smirking at him when Everton was being discussed, sometimes shaking her head in disagreement to what Masters was saying.

As the chairperson said to Masters, to quote a football fans chant “You don't know what you're doing”… and she's right!

As Steve says…. he's a complete helmet!

Dale Self
26 Posted 16/01/2024 at 15:22:28
Soren 57, this arrogant stance is why it is crucial to establish an implicit bias in the rule itself. They will likely stand by vacuous reasoning until it is destroyed by logic and data. We just need to stay composed and remain civil. It is getting obvious.
Pete Neilson
27 Posted 16/01/2024 at 16:21:19
Richard Masters:

“Everton have the absolute right to appeal that decision and are doing so, that appeal will be heard shortly and we hope it will be efficient, and I don't believe it will affect the charge heard yesterday.”

So he can't even offer certainty about how the appeal process is run, just kinda hopes it'll be okay. Then adds words to the effect that double jeopardy is fine and dandy in Tricky Dicky land.

His credibility drains away by the day.

Peter Mills
28 Posted 16/01/2024 at 16:27:20
Richard Masters, the master of talking whilst saying nothing.
Bill Fairfield
29 Posted 16/01/2024 at 16:35:48
Did anyone find Richard Masters as clear and transparent today as he claimed?
Tony Abrahams
30 Posted 16/01/2024 at 16:43:39
Yes, I did, Bill. He came across like he's only interested in power and money, and I thought that this came across in a very clear way.
Neil Lawson
31 Posted 16/01/2024 at 16:44:07
Bill.

No. The VAR confirms a complete knob and they looked carefully at all lines and angles.

Peter Mills
32 Posted 16/01/2024 at 16:47:51
He was absolutely clear and transparent, Bill – you could see right through him.
Neil Lawson
33 Posted 16/01/2024 at 16:48:16
A date has been set for Man City hearing but he can not tell us. Does anyone believe him? If true, why can not we be told? Truly making it up as heroes along.

The VAR confirms "Out of control with an obvious risk of harm to anyone bearing any allegiance to EFC. Red card."

Andy Riley
34 Posted 16/01/2024 at 16:48:35
Are Sky Sports News showing the final “You don't know what you're doing" quip from the chair to Masters or has that been censored like the Andy Burnham interview?
Nicholas Ryan
35 Posted 16/01/2024 at 17:00:40
Dame Caroline Dinenage -v- Richard Masters. After taking a standing 8 count in each of the first 6 rounds, Masters' corner threw in the towel.

As he was carried to the changing room, the Dame was heard to mutter ‘I wouldn't believe him if he told me it was going to go dark tonight'!

Mal van Schaick
36 Posted 16/01/2024 at 17:13:35
A date has been set for Man City hearing but in a different environment? Says Masters. How the fuck can this be fair and proper?

Smells of us being shafted, and the club should demand transparency.

Ian Edwards
37 Posted 16/01/2024 at 17:19:37
You can guarantee that the Man City hearing will be in the Summer so there will be no points deduction.
Paul Washington
38 Posted 16/01/2024 at 17:58:49
Does anybody know if the parliamentary committee has any power to implement their findings if its in our favour?
Soren Moyer
39 Posted 16/01/2024 at 18:28:33
Andy,

No they haven't and they won't.

Ray Said
40 Posted 16/01/2024 at 18:33:12
Richard by name and Dick by nature.
Jay Harris
41 Posted 16/01/2024 at 18:42:18
Based on Masters's performance at that committee hearing, I am convinced he is descended from a snake oil salesman.

He said he is not responsible for anything and doesn't decide the punishment, the independent commission does. I am surprised no one on the Committee reminded him that he recommended a 12-point penalty just to bring pressure to bear on the so-called independent commission that included two people with Leeds and West Ham allegiances respectively.

He couldn't say when the Man City hearing will take place – what kind of nonsense is that?

Mike Doyle
42 Posted 16/01/2024 at 18:55:26
Jay,

If the Premier League thought their actions would help prevent the introduction of an Independent Regulator, I think the performance of Masters (and the input of Rick Parry) pretty much guaranteed it will be coming.

There didn't seem to be too much love lost between either.

Bill Piscass
43 Posted 16/01/2024 at 19:15:06
So Liverpool held meetings before the appointment of Masters.
Was the relegation of Everton a condition?

Masters was the Premier League's fourth choice for the role, there were also accusations that the biggest teams in the Premier League held too much influence over the process, with Liverpool and Manchester United alleged to have held private talks with candidates chosen by the Premier League's official nominating committee, before deciding whether or not to enact their unofficial veto over the decision.

Christy Ring
44 Posted 16/01/2024 at 19:24:22
I watched Dumb and Dumber at the parliament being quizzed by the chair and committee.

Masters was an embarrassment, he couldn't answer any questions, and the redshite shit, every bit as bad, they are the figureheads of the Premier League, unbelievable, definitely red tape.

The chairperson was cringing, and you could see why she wants an Independent Regulator.

Paul Ferry
45 Posted 16/01/2024 at 19:28:37
Here is a link to the full Committee Hearing for anyone interested:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5GCUlIn7RA

Jamie, there are no shady people in Florida.

Brent Stephens
46 Posted 16/01/2024 at 19:49:46
Link

In the above link, at about 1 hour 26 mins 07 seconds into the Select Committee hearing at Westminster today, the chair notes that the Man City case is taking so long compared to Everton's. Masters’ response is that "they are very different charges. If any club are found in breach of the spending rules before the year 23, they would be in exactly the same position as Everton or Nottingham, but the volume and character of charges laid against City are being heard in a completely different environment".

What does he mean by "a completely different environment"?

Then at 1 hour 29 minutes and 50 seconds in, in response to a question from the Tory MP about Everton's 10 points penalty and a reference to other clubs, Masters says "If anybody was found to be in breach of the PRS threshold we'd be doing exactly the same thing on exactly the same time frame. There's a separate process for the other cases because they're fundamentally different in nature".

What did he mean by that? It implies that Man City's case is not (wholly?) related to PSR. But why cannot any of City’s PSR-related matters be dealt with now, as stated above by Masters, in "exactly the same time frame"?

Dave Cashen
48 Posted 16/01/2024 at 19:52:31
Thanks Paul
Andy Meighan
49 Posted 16/01/2024 at 20:00:05
Patronising twat.

Calling us and Forest small clubs, us with our history 9 league titles etc, and Forest who have actually won the European Cup twice.

And let's be honest, Man City aren't getting touched wouldn't want to dilute the brand, would they?

Absolutely sickening.

Dave Cashen
50 Posted 16/01/2024 at 21:13:00
Paul and Christy,

Heads up appreciated.

Masters – "It's not messy"

I shudder to think what it will look like when it does get messy.

Paul Birmingham
51 Posted 16/01/2024 at 21:14:30
Hopefully today's showing, magnifies the two clowns who run the Premier League, and will be cast iron proof to the DCMS, that they've no idea how to run a business and are totally not fit for their positions running the Premier League.

They are so inept and faceless, they have hopefully shown the world who they are. spineless, gutless, clueless shit houses.

Del Boy and Rodney would do a better job.

Surely the DCMS, will see this cowboy set up for what it is.

UTFTs!

Bill Piscass
52 Posted 16/01/2024 at 21:56:31
Having just watched the Richard Masters cross examination over regulation, it appeared that they suggested it was total chaos and messy, the way this has come about.

Therefore I chant "You're not fit to run the league!"

Anthony Hawkins
53 Posted 16/01/2024 at 21:59:32
The committee were not impressed or convinced by Masters at all. They all but called him a bullshitter and called him out a number of times.

One of them is a Reading fan and he didn't like Masters's attitude and responses at all. It was clear and obvious during the committee that Nottm Forest and Everton were being treated very differently to Man City and the committee weren't having a bar of it.

I got the strong impression that if they could they'd have stepped in right there and then.

Mal van Schaick
54 Posted 16/01/2024 at 22:07:45
Masters has to be removed from the equation.

He should be forced to step down from all enquiries into FFP for all clubs. He is not a fit and proper person to have the office.

Jerome Shields
55 Posted 16/01/2024 at 22:22:41
Anthony, I just thought that Masters was very aloof from the situation. Most of what he said was hollow, backed by Parry. The objective was to sail through the meeting, get out the door, and not look back.

Masters clearly annoyed his questioners. I think they both think they will get away with self regulation. Parry basically finished by saying 'bring it on'.

Danny O’Neill
56 Posted 16/01/2024 at 22:59:03
Simmering about Masters'a attitude and I would invite him to sit next to me at Goodison and come to the Brick.

But I was encouraged by the grilling the gobshite and his sidekick got.

Let's see action.

Neil Copeland
57 Posted 16/01/2024 at 23:29:58
Paul F, thanks for the link.

I really don't know what to make of that, it was a bit like when I took my oral French O-Level at school and had no clue about what I was being asked or how to respond. So I just tried to bluff it and failed miserably.

Gobsmacked at how poorly Masters in particular came across, how can someone as thick-headed and arrogant as that find his way to be CEO of the richest football league in the world. Wow!

Danny, he wouldn't be sat next to any of us for long mate! The longer this debacle goes on the stronger my resolve becomes.

UTFT!

Christine Foster
58 Posted 17/01/2024 at 03:41:00
Watching the Select Committee asking Masters questions, he was playing a disingenuous straight bat when he knew it was bullshit.

We all signed up to the rules... that's why they are changing them in August, which actually can be argued that any sanction between now and then is void as you have already agreed they are no longer fit for purpose and will be changed.

They already know that. They have informed the committee they will change them accordingly, so why are they attempting to charge and sanction under rules they no longer see fit? That's a miscarriage of justice!

The fact they have no sanction policy is bad enough, the fact they consider the rules are no longer appropriate and should be changed as soon as possible. (August?) Yet continue to attempt to enforce broken ones that work for who exactly?

If they had not mentioned changing the rules in line with wages etc, it would have strengthened their case. But no, they believe the current system (rules) is outdated and inappropriate.

Secondly, these rules where put to a vote 10 years ago and have never been amended. Since then, the revenue or turnover of the Premier League clubs has more than doubled to almost £6B, yet the allowances for losses have been the same since the beginning.

In between, of course, Covid has meant that the positive trend pre-pandemic disappeared and debt in all but a few clubs has increased significantly (probably the realistic reason for the coming change in P&S rules).

We all know what's happened to costs in the last few years, and inflation… in short, the guidelines and limits are no longer appropriate. (Too many clubs are going to fall foul to the current PSR calculations if it carries on; hence the motivation.)

Lastly, no-one envisaged that 10 years on, a war, sanctions, a pandemic and an economic depression would happen. Why didn't they have a set of specific sanctions for their PSR rules? (They left an open chequebook in the form of the term "Independent Commission".)

Even today, Masters made great play of stating the commission was independent. (Please define independence.) That any sanction was theirs and theirs alone.

Really? Why then his recommendation of 12 points, on what basis? He had no right to attempt to influence the "independent commission". He did not have the authority to do so given to him by all the clubs in the league.

We talk, we are frustrated, angry because it is injustice, it is morally corrupt, it is wrong. Pure and simple.

To those who don't see this, even here, even now, corruption is not just a lust for personal gain, it's for power and control. Those who have it don't want to lose it.

We all knew the rules, true, but we all believed in fairness. They may well have been made in good faith at the time, but never detailed in action, but that was long ago, before a war, before a pandemic, before a recession. That was then, this is now.

Poor governance by the Premier League is now being paid for by at least one club – for the benefit of who?

Phil Wood
59 Posted 17/01/2024 at 06:21:53
Well stated, Christine.

We are the Show Trial. Like in many a Dictatorship.
I find it very bemusing that the appeal is made to a puppet entity of the Premier League.

Our KC can argue until he is blue in the face that all or any judgements are contrary to "Premier League rules". They are not forced to accept any argument as they are independent of outside laws.

A waste of time unless outside opinion makes a mockery of them. But who really cares about us outside of our amazing support?

Tom Cannon
60 Posted 17/01/2024 at 09:11:04
Watching the House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport yesterday was interesting. Richard Masters, CEO of the Premier League's opening comment was that “it's the fans that matter” … he then spent the next two hours making clear that's not the case!

Good to see Everton supporter in tee-shirt sitting behind him. I thought MPs questions good and basically supportive but it's clear he's only interested in the top 3 or 4 super rich owners and their clubs … and couldn't care less about anything else.

I felt quite sorry for Rick Parry having to deal with Masters.

Danny O’Neill
61 Posted 17/01/2024 at 09:16:11
Brilliant, Christine.

Bang on the money. Nothing to add.

Not totally related, but sort of linked.

Although the BBC Breakfast programme winds me up and makes me wonder both why I subject myself to it and why I am forced to pay a TV licence, they ran an interesting article on the airline Wizzair.

Wizzair have been ordered to pay out compensation over the manner in which they handled flight disruption.

The link? They were ordered to after an audit by the industry regulator (the Civil Aviation Authority). An independent regulator and the airline has made a statement that it has complied with the regulator.

A bit of a tangent, but sounds familiar only we didn't really deal with an "independent" regulator.

It was the Premier League, who instructed them what punishment to hand out.

I keep saying it. Marking their own homework.

We either need a Football Regulator or let the Department for Culture Media and Sport take the lead. Either way, the Premier League needs to be held accountable, not allowed to judge itself and make the rules up as it goes along.

John Wilson
62 Posted 17/01/2024 at 11:24:36
Re: Richard Masters & Constituted Group:

I take issue with the term 'grilling' of Masters; on the contrary, that was at best 'examination' and not 'cross-examination' where the former is light and the latter is hostile.

What Richard Masters also said is the, allegedly, Independent Group has powers to assemble and then decide the sanction, ie, 10 points against Everton, ergo without any rules whatsoever.

This is saying they have kangaroo court powers so as to form any group and of any constitution (form, panel members) that they want in terms of assembly and in terms of any sanction.

Punishment, or especially for Everton, to assemble with appointment of a "flexible" panel with Kings Counsel barrister leading, and two or more or less, and a flexible "sanction" formed particularly to punish Everton, and then disband forever.

Then, for Chelsea and Man City, to be replaced by a new constitution that probably will never touch Chelsea or Man City.

Of City, 'Date given' — when? The year 3000? Why didn't the Committee press further. Too light on Masters.

Brendan McLaughlin
63 Posted 17/01/2024 at 11:45:15
Have to say I didn't get the impression whilst listening that neither Masters nor Parry were particularly hostile to the idea of an independent regulator.

Or did I miss that bit?

Eddie Dunn
64 Posted 17/01/2024 at 12:17:54
I watched Masters with the Select Committee. It was a very tame affair.

It seems to me that the main bone of contention is the lack of clarity. The Premier League has sleepwalked through the last 10 years allowing all sorts of creative accounting with only the threat of a slap on the wrist and a small fine.

They are obviously shitting their collective pants, should Government intervene into their closed shop. The frontman Masters couldn't even tell the Chair what date Man City were due to be heard. Why would the date need to be kept secret?

Simon (knowall) Jordan thinks we might get a 4-point deduction followed by a 4-point reduction. However, we were blindsided last time, so heaven knows what surprises lie ahead.

John Wilson
65 Posted 17/01/2024 at 12:44:33
Brendan at 40:

The fact that the panel of MPs asked him if he ever said "kick it [regulator] into the long grass."

He also said it doesn't need an independent regulator. The guy is a private educated Tory. Tories want free markets without regulation.

Brendan McLaughlin
66 Posted 17/01/2024 at 13:24:06
John @41,

Fair enough if he said that an Independent Regulator isn't needed, I missed that bit.

In my defence,Jerome #36 suggests that Parry finished by saying "bring on the Independent Regulator" which chimes with what I had thought they were saying.

Suggests to me that Masters's & Parry's position may be more nuanced than some people like to portray it.

Jerome Shields
67 Posted 17/01/2024 at 21:53:57
The arrogant Masters was bound to slip up because he was only paying lip service to the Committee.

He thinks he is untouchable.

David Cooper
68 Posted 17/01/2024 at 22:07:57
I watched part of the hearing yesterday and thought how far our game has been ripped away from the people who regularly attend games, win or lose, season after season.

Premier League football has sold it's soul to the devil, aka Richard Masters. It beggars belief how highly reputable clubs in the Premier League are represented by officials {who they are and where do they come from?) when they sit around a table and are happy to let Masters represent them.

It is obvious that the Premier League feel they are above everybody – including the government select committee – and can do whatever they want. They are desperate to avoid an independent regulator spoiling their little self-satisfying club!

Tony Abrahams
69 Posted 17/01/2024 at 22:32:58
After watching and listening to Richard Masters yesterday, I could actually finally understand why those six clubs were prepared to break away from the Premier League and help form a European Super League.

Football is no longer about the glory, it’s about the money, and I think once the masses really begin to get their heads around this, then the powers that be will suddenly begin to realize – too late – how much they have miscalculated what football should always be about, when the crowds slowly start drifting away.

I might be wrong, because I can only really vouch for my own feelings, but a common phrase I keep hearing repeatedly is, the game’s fucked.

Si Cooper
70 Posted 17/01/2024 at 23:08:41
“Football is no longer about the glory, it's about the money.”

I don't agree with that, Tony. Egos like Masters need something they can point to that reflects their superiority. Money doesn't necessarily indicate that.

I think Masters gets a real kick from results from multinational club competitions indicating that the Premier League teams are the best, which is why he is happy to oversee a system that actively protects a small group of ‘A-list' teams and couldn't care less about the ‘supporting cast'.

He obviously doesn't want those A-listers to leave, which is why their punishment for plotting to walk away was insignificant.

Tony Abrahams
71 Posted 18/01/2024 at 08:18:04
I'm glad you don't agree with it, Si, and with you being a proper football fan, nor should you.

But it's definitely the way the game has gone, and it's eventually going to get swallowed up by the greed that has been created, imo, mate.

Michael Kenrick
72 Posted 18/01/2024 at 10:03:39
Tony,

If I had a pound for every fan who's posted on this website their dire soothsaying about the impending death of football… well, I'd have a few quid.

The fact is that football in general, and the Premier League in particular, is more popular than it's ever been. If you don't believe that, take Goodison Park and the 4,000-odd obstructed views that used to peg our average attendances at around 36,000…

This season, our Premier League attendances are averaging 39,104 — that's 99.2% of the full capacity of Goodison Park.

And last night (albeit not a Premier League game), in bitter cold, with the latest regulatory kick to the goolies of every Evertonian still hurting, an incredible 37,896 turned out to watch a god-awful game of football that was enlivened by some excellent goalkeeping and fine strike to win it.

It is still all about glory. I would suggest that, coz we ain't seen that much recently (understatement), you may have lost sight of that. It is not and never has been and never will be all about money.

Yes, money is essential to keep the show on the road. But that is just a simple fact of life. Nothing in this world functions without money but the distribution is not equal. That causes a lot of bleating and anguish but 't'was ever thus, to echo the words of a long absent ToffeeWebber.

Latent puritanical ideals seem to have some believing that somehow football could be purer and better without the money… but that is just unrealistic nonsense.

Football fought against professionalism in its earliest days more than 100 years ago and lost that battle pretty convincingly. They tried to cap wages but that eventually got ditched well before the modern era, although still clearly within the living memory of many in this parish.

Sorry, Tony, but trying to fight it is a losing battle; nothing in football could be more certain.

Raymond Halsall
73 Posted 18/01/2024 at 14:07:32
Hi, one point I would like to raise and this should be put to the Premier League Chairman: When the rules change in August, under what rules will Man City, Chelsea and any other team found to be found guilty of breaking the rules before 2024-25 be ruled against?

I believe under the rule change we would sail through with no issues. The rules were changed half-way through to take into account interest payments for ground Improvements etc that did not affect Man City or West Ham Utd who took over new grounds that cost them nothing to build.

Is the rent West Ham pay calculated into their outgoings? Then we have Arsenal and Spurs who did not have the cost of their grounds taken into consideration? Another is the mortgage Manchester United pay costing billions.

Michael Kenrick
74 Posted 18/01/2024 at 14:56:25
"When the rules change in August"

No doubt I'm pissing into the wind here but I wonder if we could get some clarity on this?

For starters, there will be no change in the rules in August without a majority vote by the Premier League's stakeholders — the clubs. Whatever is proposed by Masters and his Minnions has to be approved by a 14 to 6 majority, or better.

Secondly, I know it was hard but, if you listened to what Masters said, the Premier League were considering the introduction of squad-cost ratio rules which had the advantage that they could be monitored in real time and more appropriate sanctions levied immediately — specifically, the Premier League refusing to register new players that would cause a club to exceed the allowable ratio — whatever that is.

Thirdly, he also suggested that, with the agreement of the majority of clubs, the existing P&S Rules may stay in place alongside any new rules. Or they might be modified. So that is a very clear: "Wait and see".

It should not need saying because it seems completely obvious… but the Premier League is duty-bound to enforce the rules that are currently in place, per it's 2023-24 Handbook. The idea that the Premier League will now suddenly suspend the existing rules because there may be changes made for next season and beyond is sadly way off the mark.

But yeah... let's just run around in circles and scream "Corrupt!" — as if that has done any good whatsoever — when it's an autonomous private club that we helped create and that is implementing its own rules — that we voted for.

Jay Harris
75 Posted 18/01/2024 at 15:33:39
Michael,

Yes they were the rules voted for by a majority but took no account of:-

The effect of the pandemic

The banning of funds from Usmanov

Inflation

Accounting treatment of loan interest (inferred as funds for the stadium which is for the auditors to decide the accounting treatment of not the Premier League).

IMO, we were too open with the Premier League who are now using that information against us while other clubs just submit their audited accounts with no investigation into their validity nor compliance.

For example, why had it taken over 10 years and a UEFA investigation to conclude that City were in breach of PSR (allegedly)?

Phil Greenough
76 Posted 18/01/2024 at 15:36:15
I take your point, Michael, but where in the handbook does it state that the Premier League can form an "Independent" commission and then dictate to it what the punishment should be? Also, did the clubs agree that the punishment can be administered immediately — before an appeal is heard?

And I know it's been written ad infinitum, but why can't the Premier League pick on just one of City's many charges and hold them accountable? Or does the tail wag the dog if it pertains to Manchester City when it comes to finding corruption?

Christine Foster
77 Posted 18/01/2024 at 17:35:44
From the BBC this morning:

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters needed to be "a lot clearer and a lot more honest" in his response to Everton's charges, according to Fan Advisory Board secretary Julie Clarke.

The Toffees, alongside Nottingham Forest, were charged with alleged breaches of the league's profit and sustainability regulations in their accounts for 2022-23.

The club are already in the process of appealing against a 10-point deduction from a previous charge.

Masters was questioned on Tuesday at a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee hearing about the rules.

Speaking on BBC Radio Merseyside's Total Sport programme, Clarke said: "He did not seem to be right across the brief at all.

"A lot of the questions he was asked he didn't know the answers for. Then to go on about us and Nottingham Forest being small clubs? Somebody in his position should have been briefed before he went in front of the committee on the history of the clubs he was going to be asked about.

"When he says this is the first time a club has been charged in this specific way, what specific way? Because we don't know this way that you are talking about because you haven't told anyone or the clubs and you couldn't tell the select committee what the process is for how your commission arrived at this decision.

"We needed him to be a lot clearer and a lot more honest."

Under new rules designed to speed up the reporting process and ensure any penalties were imposed during a season when the alleged transgression took place, clubs had to submit their accounts for 2022-23 by 31 December.

"An organisation cannot come in and make rules as it goes along and worse still, penalise another organisation without saying how you have arrived at that," Clarke added. "The second lot seems to have certainly overlapped with the first lot, but more to the point, how have they prioritised their time in the investigations?

"They have other clubs that they are investigating and yet saw fit to put all that on hold to go and reinvestigate a club they have already investigated and sanctioned? It makes no sense. It looks like victimisation."

Brendan McLaughlin
78 Posted 18/01/2024 at 17:56:57
Michael #74

It's also highly likely that, if any changes are agreed in August, they will be phased in so PSR will be around for a few seasons yet.

I also wonder how many of the glaring injustices built in to the PSR approach, as identified by various ToffeeWebbers on here, will be addressed by the other 19 clubs as part of these proposed changes.

Not many, I'd wager.

Dave Abrahams
79 Posted 18/01/2024 at 18:33:46
Michael (74) and Brendan (78),

How many of the rules and conditions that we have been sanctioned and dealt with, re the loss of 10 points, are written down in black and white and have even been changed since we were charged in March 2023?

Brendan McLaughlin
80 Posted 18/01/2024 at 19:25:00
Dave #79,

Written down in black and white, all of them and none.

The rules as approved gave the Independent Commission unlimited and wide-ranging powers.

Changed since we were charged... none that I can think of.

So, in the light of Everton's experience, do you think the other 19 clubs will perhaps move in August to address the flaws in the current system?

Michael Kenrick
81 Posted 18/01/2024 at 20:57:55
Dave,

The fine point on this is that we were charged under the rules written down in black and white in the Premier League Handbook for season 2022-23. As far as charging us the first time is concerned, those rules don't change.

The nuance regarding changing rules is that we were charged this month for a second breach under the rules written down in black and white in the Premier League Handbook for season 2023-24.

One significant change as far as PSR was concerned is the addition of Appendix 1 – Standard Directions, which apply to the prosecution of our second breach but not our first.

These 'Standard Directions' set out the accelerated timeline that other clubs wanted to see so that any breach of P&S Rules was punished before the end of the season in which the charge was made.

The Premier League wanted that to happen with our first breach back in March 2023 but it seems Everton (as well as the commission?) said such a short timeline was impossible and resisted, kicking the can into the next (ie, this) season. And thus creating the 'double jeopardy' we are now threatened with.

All because of those damned rules. Or, if you are so inclined, because the Premier League is corrupt to the core. (I've seen that a lot… I wish someone would explain it me.)

Brian Denton
82 Posted 18/01/2024 at 21:17:26
Michael, you have made several posts upholding the Premier League, and adopting a 'more in sorrow than anger' tone when explaining 'reality' to us deluded Evertonians.

Well, sod that for a game of soldiers. I can get that sort of thing from any amount of the national press or BBC. This is (the clue is in the name) a Fansite. I come here to hear people who share the same 'my club, right or wrong' attitude as I do. And if that comes across as the rantings of a one-eyed idiot, so be it.

Brendan McLaughlin
83 Posted 18/01/2024 at 21:25:50
Brian #82,

"One-eyed"... never!

Brian Harrison
84 Posted 18/01/2024 at 21:27:37
Brian@ 82

I don't think Michael was suggesting that the punishment was fair or just, but was stating that the rules of the Premier League clearly state that any club who lose more than £105M above what they are allowed within a 3-year period then they have broken the rules, as agreed by all 20 Premier League clubs.

But the Premier League doesn't stipulate how the punishment will be applied in the Premier League handbook and instead used a set of punishments that are agreed for the leagues below the Premier League.

I am sure, now that we have employed a top barrister, he will put forward many arguments in mitigation, but we can't say we didn't know there would be a punishment for breaking the £105M rule.

Michael Kenrick
85 Posted 18/01/2024 at 22:07:54
Jay @75,

I think the greatest unfairness in all of this is the easy dismissal of the mitigation factors, which I suspect Everton did not fight strong enough for, as any one of them would have seen us below the £105M threshold.

The effect of the pandemic From what I can tell, Everton have maximised their Covid allowances — far higher than any other club — so I'd be loath to include this in a list of grievances.

The banning of funds from Usmanov I agree. The offhand dismissal of the Ukraine War and all its ramifications as "normal business variables", or whatever the phrase was, is disgusting and should be challenged by every legal tool to hand for Mr Rabinowitz (if allowed).

Inflation This is a tricky one as every other club has had to stay within the old established limits. I firmly believe it's down to our incompetence and lack of backbone to challenge the commission on the mitigations that were proffered. Inflation was not and I doubt it will be raised on appeal.

Accounting treatment of loan interest There was an awful lot of deliberation on this by the original commission, and all of Everton's stadium development costs before planning permission were allowed, which was a massive victory for the club.

But the club itself totally fucked up the assignment of loans when it was surely very easy to assign all loans to the hugely expensive stadium construction. And again, we would have been well in the clear.

Then there's Sigurdsson, which I think the club totally messed up and which should also have seen us well clear.

We have to work within the Premier League Rules. I am absolutely convinced we are where we are not as a result of Premier League corruption but because our senior executives, former now dead Chairman, and the imbecilic owner made a complete balls-up of their 'robust defence' before the independent commission.

Thanks, Brian Harrison @84. Spot on… except rules agreed by the majority (at least 14) but perhaps not all 20 clubs.

Tony Abrahams
86 Posted 18/01/2024 at 22:16:23
If it wasn’t about the glory to a “football fan” Michael, I don’t think the stadiums would be full, but I don’t believe it is about the glory for most football clubs anymore, because a lot of clubs are now owned by people who only seem interested in the money.

I listened to Masters, (who is probably just the front face of a very greedy regime) and the contradictions of his argument for not dropping parachute payments, because he wanted to keep the EPL competitive, compared to Rick Parry, who said if they distributed the money fairer, (whilst giving the football league a bigger percentage) then there wouldn’t be any need for parachute payments at all. (And these payments were also making the championship a lot less competitive)

It got me thinking about money over glory, and I thought about Arsenal, and how they built their new ground, whilst consistently having one of the lowest net spends in the league. They built that stadium on consistently qualifying for the champions league, even though they never won a trophy for years, and I’m not sure they would have been able to do this, if they would have swapped a few fourth place finishes, for cups?

Whilst the fans would have surely enjoyed watching their team winning cups rather than coming fourth, the reality is that Arsenal done a lot more for themselves by consistently coming fourth?

I was never happy with how clubs consistently qualified for the champions league, without ever having to win a trophy, because I always felt it was very unfair on the rest, and slowly but surely, this unfairness has helped create a very unequal playing field, and pushed a lot of clubs further away from ever achieving glory, even though they have never made so much “money” before.

John Keating
87 Posted 18/01/2024 at 22:26:54
Masters and anyone connected with Premier League management should be classed as The Sun newspaper on Merseyside.
Michael Kenrick
88 Posted 18/01/2024 at 22:39:06
Phil @76,

"Where in the handbook does it state that the Premier League can form an "Independent" commission and then dictate to it what the punishment should be?

There seems to be a big misunderstanding about the Premier League dictating the punishment, largely brought about, I believe by the false and inaccurate leaks that claimed the Premier League wanted a 12-point deduction.

The Premier League had included in their submission to the independent commission the sanctions policy they had drafted at their 10 August 2023 board meeting. Their defence of this approach is already in the findings (§86):

At the pre-trial review held on 4 October 2023, the Premier League clarified a misunderstanding as to the status of its position [on their sanction policy]. It made clear that it was not seeking to impose a policy on the Commission as a binding formula. Rather it was advancing its view in the same way as the EFL policy was advanced by those representing it before a Commission hearing an EFL P&S complaint. Its status was therefore no more than that of a submission.

And significantly, the commission clearly says they rejected this 'guidance' on punishment that had been submitted by the Premier League after Everton had been charged. They said they would retain "wide discretion to impose any of the sanctions listed" in the rules.

Where this gets highly opaque is that the punishment they chose just happened to fit exactly with the Premier League's proposed sanction policy — and no explanation or justification was provided. Hopefully this can be another fruitful area where Mr Rabinowitz KC can drill down hard in the appeal.

Also, did the clubs agree that the punishment can be administered immediately — before an appeal is heard?

I think they did (possibly without realising it!) because they agreed to an open and essentially unlimited sanctions policy. So anything (literally anything) the independent commission came up with as punishment – including its immediate application – was okay by the rules of the Premier League private club.

Kinda ridiculous in hindsight but there ya go.

David West
89 Posted 18/01/2024 at 23:12:45
MK @85,

If you can make them arguments (I'm not questioning your intelligence) so clear and precise, surely the club's hugely expensive legal team can get them arguments across.

I agree, we have pushed the covid allowances to the limit, maybe over, and the league and other clubs are not happy with it.

The war in Ukraine has not hit any other club as much as us, The funds we have lost would see us more than compliant.

The inflation argument is a valid one, yet it's one the whole league are operating within, so I don't see that as an angle one club can use.

Sigurdsson is surely a mitigation factor. The club's record signing, unable to play, being paid, and his value written off totally.

Forest are trying to argue about the sale of Johnson coming slightly too late, well Sigurdson was totally out of the club's control – if that is not a mitigation factor then it's hard to see any.

It surely comes down to bad financial management, if that's the club not confirming what is a mitigation factor, or what is allowable, what the league requires us to do, while we were under "special measures", it's the club's job to stay within the rules.

Yes the 10 points is extremely harsh, and will probably be reduced, but it shows blatant incompetence from those in charge of Everton, there's no getting away from that!

John Keating
90 Posted 18/01/2024 at 23:23:35
Masters and Allison – other arseholes who've never done a day's work in their lives.

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