26/01/2024 68comments  |  Jump to last

The Chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Dame Caroline Dineage, has written to Premier League CEO, Richard Masters, seeking clarity on certain remarks he made to a Committee hearing at Westminster earlier this month. 

Masters was grilled on a number of aspects of governance in domestic football and the topic of Everton’s breach of Profitability and Sustainability Rules was discussed along with the general sanctions framework that the League and Independent Commission used to formulate the historic 10-point deduction handed down to the Blues last November.

Dame Dineage wrote to Masters by email asking him to clarify what he meant when, during the hearing, he made reference to “small” clubs as it pertained to how the League has treated the cases involving Everton and Nottingham Forest on the one hand and Manchester City and Chelsea on the other.

She also requested greater detail on the sanctions framework itself, a point on which Masters appeared to contradict the Independent Commission’s report that laid out their reasoning for recommending the penalty against Everton that they did.

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In a statement, Dame Dineage said: "Richard Masters' implication that nine-times league title winners Everton and double European Cup winners Nottingham Forest are 'small clubs' will have raised eyebrows with fans. To suggest clubs are categorised according to size raises wider questions about whether every member of the league truly does receive treatment that is fair and consistent."

Dame Dineage's letter in full:

Thank you for appearing before the Committee on 16th January 2024. I am writing to follow up on points raised during the session.

Firstly, when discussing the charges laid against Everton FC and Nottingham Forest FC for breaching the Premier League's Profit and Sustainability rules, you said the rules

"are for everybody. They are not just for small clubs." I would be grateful if you could clarify what criteria the Premier League uses to classify 'small clubs' and which clubs it regards as small.

Secondly, when questioned on the lack of transparency around Everton's point deduction, and the Premier League's approach to sanctions, you stated:

"An independent panel made the decisions in respect of the charge for the PSRs and indeed the sanction, independent of the Premier League, independent of the executive, the board and the clubs."

and

"We have an open sanctioning regime. It is an active decision to leave it to the independent panel to decide because it gives it maximum flexibility to decide in the circumstances, having listened to all the mitigating arguments made by the club and by the Premier League to make its own decision. While that may not be clear, we believe it is fair."

This appears to contradict paragraph 86 of the Premier League Commission's report - published on 17 November 2023 - which states that the Premier League adopted a structured "sanctions policy" at its Board meeting on 10 August 2023, and subsequently presented that sanctions policy to the Commission as part of your witness statement.' The Commission reported that

"The guidelines advocated by the Premier League are similar to, but different from, those of the EFL. As with the EFL guidelines they start with a presumption that the appropriate penalty will be a sporting sanction in the form of a deduction of points. They adopt a fixed starting point of a deduction of 6 points. There would be an increase from that starting point of one point for every £5 million by which the club had exceeded the PSR threshold of £105 million. Further adjustments could be made to reflect aggravating or mitigating features. The rationale for these guidelines is given in the evidence of Mr Masters."

While both Everton and the Premier League were entitled to make submissions on the sanctions in this case as part of the Commission's process, there have been concerns about the decision of the Premier League's board to agree a structured policy for sanctions and recommended it to the Commission.

The Commission declined to adopt the formula proposed by the Premier League, noting concern that the adoption of a structured formula could compromise the basis on which it was created: to approach the question of sanction in whatever way it considered to be appropriate to the individual case before it.

Nevertheless the decision to propose what the Commission described as a policy, rather than simply a sanction, has created the perception moving the goalposts, particularly in light of the Commission going on to adopt a similar penalty as that which would have been made under the Premier League's proposed policy.

In the interests of transparency, I would be grateful if you could publish or provide the Committee with:

  1. the full version your witness statement presented to the Independent Commission;
  2. the minutes of the Premier League board meeting of 10 August 2023 when it agreed the formula presented to the Independent Commission.

I would also be grateful if you could clarify whether the Premier League will propose the same formula in other cases outside of Everton's, and how you intend to ensure that any further sanctions applied – particularly following possible changes to rules this year – will be transparent and applied fairly.

Finally, can you assure the Committee that the latest charges against Everton and Nottingham Forest of breaking the Premier League's profit and sustainability rules – taking possible appeals into account – will be resolved before the final round of Premier League fixtures on 19 May 2024?

I would be grateful for a response to the Committee's questions by 8 February.

Yours sincerely,

Caroline Dinenage DBE MP
Chair, Culture, Media and Sport Committee

In addition, the Committee also wrote to Minister for Sport, Stuart Andrew, urging the Government to expedite the submission of the Football Governance Bill which would establish an independent regulator for football.

 

Reader Comments (68)

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Brian Williams
1 Posted 26/01/2024 at 16:42:21
Well that augurs well, to be honest.
Kieran Kinsella
2 Posted 26/01/2024 at 16:54:25
In fairness to Masters on the "small" club point. It's semantics. Part of the argument being made is the Premier League show favor to certain clubs. We all know who they are… Man City being one of them. How you define them is semantics – "big clubs," "rich clubs", "Sky Six" etc – so I think he was just trying to argue that there aren't double standards for some clubs.

With that having been said, obviously there are double standards and he was idiotic for phrasing it that way as it gives critics another point to latch onto. Although, I don't think the "small... not small" debate is really a key issue that will swing the argument either which way.

The lack of clarity, lack of consistency, and lack of process should be sufficient to do that.

Si Pulford
3 Posted 26/01/2024 at 17:11:41
Kieran, I disagree with that, mate.

I think the language used is incredibly important. It gives credence to the accusation that some clubs are seen as ‘small' and therefore an easy target. As opposed to the untouchable, unpunishable cash cows of the so-called Big Six.

I may be wrong but the more this type of language is challenged the more it shines a light on the Premier League's ridiculous attempts to prove some level of sell governance in reaction to the government's white paper.

Just my opinion of course.

Lyndon Lloyd
4 Posted 26/01/2024 at 17:16:57
I'm with you on the "small clubs" point, Kieran. If you watch the video of the hearing, Masters responds in the same context as the questioner where he talks about a "cliff edge in the Premier League where, if you're a really big club..."

Leaving all cynicism about the way the Premier League might actually view the big six versus the rest aside, it's probably unfair to damn for what might have simply been mis-speaking.

The other point about the inconsistency over the sanctions framework is the key point and one where Everton really might have a case in the appeal.

Michael Kenrick
5 Posted 26/01/2024 at 17:52:23
I think this is tremendous – and it appears to have the paw-prints of Andy Burnham all over it.

Sadly, I suspect the Rat Masters will dodge it all, saying he cannot comment as the issue still has to be decided by appeal. But this gives him a right good public rollicking.

And confirms that the independent regulator he does not want may be with us sooner rather than later, assuming the government gives the bill adequate time to get through Parliament.

Barry Rathbone
6 Posted 26/01/2024 at 18:18:31
I must be going mad.

I thought Masters was inferring Premier League clubs see themselves as "big" but won't be treated any different to lower league spuds ergo Everton and Forest are "big".

Didn't cross my mind he was calling us "small"!

Dale Self
7 Posted 26/01/2024 at 18:24:20
The rhetoric is important. If Masters backtracks at all, this could be significant. All we need then is a demonstration of implicit bias in the rules as presently applied.

Some writers have already advanced that with some decent work. This could be the turn where the Premier League has to start fully explaining their actions.

Si Pulford
8 Posted 26/01/2024 at 18:37:47
Dale you made my point better than I did. Spot on, in my humble opinion.
Dale Self
9 Posted 26/01/2024 at 18:51:16
Si, I didn’t mean to repeat your point. Just catching up to this and had not read all the posts yet. I think we are on to something.
Dennis Stevens
10 Posted 26/01/2024 at 19:02:31
This whole process has only served to underline the necessity of the Government appointed independent regulator. Probably the opposite of what was intended!
Jonathan Haddock
11 Posted 26/01/2024 at 19:02:57
Andy Burnham’s finger prints all over this letter. Well done Andy, top man.
Ian Burns
12 Posted 26/01/2024 at 19:08:59
Ms Caroline Dinenage DBE MP, obviously (hopefully) saw right through Masters during his appearance at the hearing.

His comment about small club was not in reference to EFC but subconsciously elevating the Sky 6 to another level and everybody knows it but can't say it out loud. Either way, it created the opportunity for her to raise the question.

Then the real point at issue with regards to the apparent inconsistency in reference to the sanctions framework, along with the specific date of response by 8 February, signifies where the lady is going with this. She wants the Regulator in and doesn't like the self-governance the Premier League has set for itself.

Whether that results in the Premier League revisiting the points deduction only time will tell – but, for me, the underlying reference in her letter bodes well for us. But this is Everton …

Stephen Williams
13 Posted 26/01/2024 at 19:25:49
In addition to the well-made points above, it is also pertinent to explore the Commission's comment that:

'Further adjustments could be made to reflect aggravating or mitigating features. The rationale for these guidelines is given in the evidence of Mr Masters."

The mitigation put forward by the club, including a political ruling by the UK Government that our lucrative sponsorship with a Russian organisation must immediately cease, is extraordinary and compelling — despite a war in Europe and the associated political fall out being a once in a lifetime event, the Commission deemed it to be a normal commercial risk with no adjustment made to the sanctions. Unbelievable.

I believe the complete and flagrant ignoring of such mitigating factors will form a major plank of our appeal along with why a sporting sanction should be applied to what was a financial issue.

We need to know what Masters's direction to the 'Independent' commission was in these regards. I believe that such directions will undoubtedly demonstrate that Masters was controlling the 'Independent' Commission from the get-go.

However, whilst I expect us to get a reduced points deduction, it will then be topped up by a further deduction for the 2nd charge — effectively, we'll end up with the same total of 10 points deducted. At least Forest would then be below us, putting another club in the relegation scrap.

Brian Denton
14 Posted 26/01/2024 at 19:28:26
Michael (5) your last sentence crystallises a fear in my mind: that I'll have to hope the Tories stick around for a bit, for Everton's sake. What a horrible dilemma.

I also fear a Starmer government would be unlikely to indulge a hobby horse of Andy Burnham, whom he sees as a rival.

David West
15 Posted 26/01/2024 at 19:28:27
MK. Yes, this was what Burnham was calling for. As someone who has been involved in regulatory matters, Burnham saw right through masters, actually saying he may have misled the committee. In his position he can't say "lied" but we know what he was getting at.

The chair of the DCMS committee can see they have been "moving the goalposts".

The witness statements and the minutes of the meeting should be in the public domain, considering how many people these affect. If there's nothing to hide, why hide!

If the Premier League wanted to show how they could regulate fairly themselves, they should have done away with all the secrecy and smoke and mirrors.

Andy Burnhan has done every Evertonian proud the way he's challenging the status quo. The process is not fair and transparent, the process has been tainted and it raises suspicion of foul play.

John Chambers
16 Posted 26/01/2024 at 19:37:37
What I would have liked to see would have been a challenge to the statement he made about the appeal not impacting the second charge.

Surely if we win the appeal and the reason for the first charge is found to be in error, it will invalidate the second charge – unless he already knows the decision about the appeal has already been made!

John Brooks
17 Posted 26/01/2024 at 19:40:09
A couple of things come to mind reading the article and the comments.

I would ask the Premier League when exactly was the guidance tabled that the punishment is or is not levied at? Also, exactly when the 'independent' commission was convened?

The reason for these questions fall to an article I read before Christmas. The Premier League only handed the table of punishment over to the commission half way through their investigation of us.

Finally, if the government creates a government ombudsman to regulate and oversee the Premier League, they don't trust them. If it is created, maybe all of their records, books and transactions should be investigated.

Martin Farrington
18 Posted 26/01/2024 at 20:30:38
Still no word from Alison Brittain CBE, Chair of the Premier League. She either does or does not support her CEO, the hapless Masters. Both clearly are massively out of their respective depth.

His concluding words about the sanction decision process:-
"While that may not be clear, we believe it is fair" – sums up succinctly the waffle he spoke prior to that.

Jerome Shields
19 Posted 26/01/2024 at 21:30:37
The Premier League thought they would be faceless, have their decisions with any appeals being a formality and their decisions accepted without with impunity.

Masters's arrogant appearance reflected this. His objective was to get through his questioning and back to facelessness.

But he now finds his answers questioned. To be questioned in the face of a Bill on football regulation could provide a continuing agenda for further debate. I know his 'small club' claim may be seen as innocuous, but it does open up questions regarding a level playing field in the Premier League. The query regarding sanctions brings into question the process and independence of the commission.

They are an attack on self-regulation, difficult to answer, but require that they are answered.

David McMullen
20 Posted 26/01/2024 at 21:56:34
Music to our ears. This is what Andy Burnham pointed out in his letters and asked for in his second letter to the Premier League. They hadn't replied to him a second time as far as I know.

The 'small club' thing is probably a slip of the tongue but it provides tonnage to turn it back on him over how he views any clubs outside the '6'.

Cough up, Masters.

Paul Birmingham
21 Posted 26/01/2024 at 22:15:06
Let's hope that Everton's KC is doing his homework for Everton's defence.

I think the conscious bias Masters displayed was unprofessional and showed up himself and the Premier League being out of its depth, ignorant, uncooperative, and hopefully, this will be proven when the Everton appeal hearing takes place.

Well done, Andy Burnham, for fighting Everton's corner.

Football has changed in the Premier League for the worse and I hope Everton can take the Premer League to the cleaners in terms of the punishment they've dished out.
UTFTs!

Brendan McLaughlin
22 Posted 26/01/2024 at 22:16:56
Masters referenced "small clubs" in response to a question posed by a member of the Select Committee who used the very same description.

Nothing more than semantics.

The real concern is that this is what the DCMS Committe now choose to lead with.

Even at £100,000+ Rabinowitz is a necessity and will hopefully prove to be money well spent.

Jim Wilson
23 Posted 26/01/2024 at 22:18:36
Hopefully it is a signal to the Appeal board that the Chair, Culture, Media and Sport Committee are not happy with the sanction imposed on Everton.
John Keating
24 Posted 26/01/2024 at 22:24:05
If a Government regulator comes in after the appeal is heard, and it goes against us, could we contest the decision? Or is it just a fait accompli and tough on us?

I would hate to think we suffer under these corrupt rules, and, teams charged under the auspices of the Government regulator escape with a lesser punishment for an equal or more serious charge.

Dan Parker
25 Posted 26/01/2024 at 22:24:23
Listened to Acadoo by Black Lace for the first time since being a kid in 1984. Today was a good day. The Toffees will continue to show strength in adversity.
Colin Glassar
26 Posted 26/01/2024 at 22:37:29
Fingers (and toes) crossed.
Anthony Hawkins
27 Posted 26/01/2024 at 23:38:00
Any use of the phrase ‘small club' by the committee was used as bait towards Masters. That was made abundantly clear by one of the committee members who is a Reading fan.

The committee is 100% anti the pseudo-independent nature of the Premier League. To instruct an independent commission then lead them in what the outcome should be, or allow them to use an alternative outcome? How so?

The total ignorance of any and every mitigating circumstance presented by Everton was appalling. The rules state mitigating circumstances would and could be considered yet significant events were completely ignored, which shouts unfair application of rules. Then there's the change of rules which just happen to coincide with charges against one of the big six. Coincidence or convenience?

The committee are neither stupid nor blind and I commend them.

Brendan McLaughlin
28 Posted 26/01/2024 at 23:50:20
Anthony #27,

Everton"s attempt at mitigations were pretty much "I forgot my homework" and not unexpectedly floundered.

Geoff Cadman
29 Posted 26/01/2024 at 00:15:54
Well, this is a start but there are many more questions still to be answered. The sanction policy created months after we were charged. The so called "independent commission" with links to the clubs relegated last season, surely a conflict of interests.

Loan interest not allowed against the stadium costs, if we weren't building the stadium we wouldn't need the loans. Leaks to the press regarding the punishments we were facing and it goes on.

All we can do as fans is carry on with the protests, I don't think the "Premier League – corrupt as fuck" chant does us any favours. There was a banner outside the Brick when we played Man Utd – I can't remember all the lines but it finished "Every point you take, every move you make, we'll be watching you" – Pity we can't adopt that instead.

Anthony Hawkins
30 Posted 27/01/2024 at 00:33:24
@Brendan,

I understand your perspective; however, given the inability for the board to accept our position meant the club had to table alternatives. Those alternatives weren't completely in isolation and when pooled do make a significant impact.

I think the club should have been more conscientious but they are hamstrung and then taken advantage of.

Alan J Thompson
31 Posted 27/01/2024 at 02:14:09
I'd like to think that the Premier League's response could lead to further questions, especially if it is not clear and concise – and none of this "cannot presently disclose" nonsense.
Kieran Kinsella
32 Posted 27/01/2024 at 04:53:31
Brendan

No offence but I don't often agree with you… but on this thread I do.

Mike Dolan
33 Posted 27/01/2024 at 04:59:17
It seems to me that, intentional or not, Richard Masters has set the Premier League up for failure in its victimization of Everton for breaking its totally unworkable financial regulations. The way over-the-top punishment simply exposed the league of just picking a punishment out of thin air.

After all, if Everton's transgressions are ludicrously to be punished twice, then what happens next year when the past third of a transgression shows up on the Mastersmeter???

Masters with his over aggressive treatment of Everton has also made it completely impossible to ever bring any judgement against any of the big clubs because any such judgement on the same scale would put at least two of the big clubs out of existence.

The problem here is not so much any club not being in compliance with the regulations. The problem is simply having a Premier League that is being run at least as badly as our club has been.

We will beat this not because we didn't breach the league's unworkable financials but because we did and they simply don't have a workable way of punishing us.

Jerome Shields
34 Posted 27/01/2024 at 05:29:25
Anthony #30

The Club had the same attitude as Masters. They had their Chief Executive on Premier League committees and appointed to Government working groups regarding regulation. Everton were way ahead in their answers to the Fan-led Review, with their Chief Executive, a Professor no less, no doubt giving lectures on how to quell Fan protest.

They were vocal for the Premier League in the face of a breakaway European Super League and probably involved in the paltry sanctions imposed. They had a Chairman in the know, who was assured by other Premier League clubs that Everton were a model on how to do things.

Yes, they were well-in with the football authorities. They were working with the Premier League on monitoring their finances and were self-assured they fulfilled the Premier League's financial requirements, even pre-empting the Premier League with what appeared to be public assurances of compliance.

But the Premier League turned on them. The Everton Chief Executive suddenly went dumb, a big ask for her, as her fellow committee members decided to put Everton up for investigation. Everton were third in the queue in millions spent. One breach was no problem; others had more, even one with over a hundred.

Surely this was still a formality and Everton's preparation for the Commission which was just named as 'independent' to suit. Everton had the inside track, they knew what was going on, nod-nod, wink-wink.

Then, after the sanctions, it emerged that rules had been changed during the process. "We didn't know" came the reply from Everton. Their lack of defence was laid bare, as they tried to get in front of the Evertonians and their outraged supporters from Reading and beyond who pointed out the gaping holes in the Premier League's defence of sanctions.

Everton appoint a KC 2 months later, leaving ToffeeWeb posters to quander (rhymes with Wander). Chairman Mao saying in his Little Red Book: "A leader a mile in front of his army is a fool." Everton where a mile behind theirs.

Christine Foster
35 Posted 27/01/2024 at 05:34:41
The Premier League: Welcome to New Members. (A Parody)

We make the rules, it's our club. To join, you have to accept that. We can basically do what we want, the rules are minimum guidelines of membership, and generally apply to most members.

If we think you have broken the rules, we will ask our appointed "independent commission" to confirm and penalise you. We shall of course give advice to the commission on what punishment is appropriate.

You have the right to appeal, not that it will do you much good, but for the sake of good governance, that option is included.

You must understand there is a difference how we can of course apply any rules across our membership. Small clubs will be dealt with quickly and efficiently as the outcome is of far less importance to us or the media; however, it is important to stress that in such cases any sanctions applied must appear to be robust and punitive to demonstrate to government that we can of course, manage this great enterprise without their aid.

It is imperative to understand that, as a commercial institution, we must do everything to protect our brand. That brand revolves around several clubs to whom punitive sanctions cannot therefore be applied irrespective of the number of charges or failures they demonstrate.

In such cases, if the transgression is deemed severe then the league shall revisit the application of rules or the rules themselves.

Should this occur, it will likely impact on those smaller clubs of little note. In such cases, the old rules shall still apply. Such advice shall be given to any appeal commission in the unlikely event of this occurring.

Please note: There would be considerable damage to the board of the Premier League and its global standing if these rules are not applied. Therefore, for the sake of appearances, examples must be made of a number of clubs, preferably well-known and respected but no longer vital to our branding, to ensure the longevity and integrity of the board.

We wish you success (insofar as we wish).

Matt Traynor
36 Posted 27/01/2024 at 06:15:23
Mike #33 - but regulation is not (or should not be) designed to force clubs or enterprises out of business.

There's already an argument (not made by Everton) that a points deduction (sporting sanction) is also a financial sanction, as the loss in league placements is substantial (each place being worth c. £2.5M).

More concerning is the case of Man City. Some of the allegations are pure financial doping – the sort that Rangers were guilty of a few years back, and saw them effectively wound up, stripped of titles and demoted to the lowest league.

But they weren't owned by a foreign state. A state which raised the case of the football club and the potential charges (ie, against one of its "assets") in a recent diplomatic meeting — which mysteriously got little mainstream media reporting. Certainly no media analysis or commentary.

The way the previous board sleepwalked into the situation makes one almost feel they were set up to fail. The fact that absolutely no-one outside of L4 gives a fuck about us makes you fear that we'll still be punished – and other clubs with more powerful and vested owners will not.

I've seen our fans on sites such as TW questioning the motivations of Andy Burnham, suggesting this is all part of an effort to raise his profile. Like he needs it...

Thank fuck he is using his position to push this because, as much as the efforts of the fans to arrange protests are laudable – they are just noise easily ignored. Andy's efforts – motivated as a fan – will at least make the Premier League think about their next actions, even if the general media is still in the "you knew the rules" camp.

Danny O’Neill
37 Posted 27/01/2024 at 07:07:09
Regardless of what happens, this is positive as the Premier League is now under Government scrutiny.

The days of seeming self-regulation should be taken away and they have to be held to account.

As for 'independent', I obviously have no inside information, but don't make me laugh. The Premier League influenced the decision and, as mentioned above, shifted the goalposts at the 11th hour despite our cooperation.

It was almost like throwing the prosecution a bung. And now they've gone for double jeopardy, whilst by their own admission, they admitted the so-called rules were not fit for purpose and they are changing them in the summer.

Whatever happens to us, I think the Premier League in their Paddington HQ, far removed from those who actually play and follow football as we have done all our lives, are going to come under increasing scrutiny. As will football. I hope they feel uncomfortable.

This is a positive for me.

Well done, Andy Burnham, for raising and driving this. As regular posters know, I met him on a train platform recently. Great person and passionate Evertonian. I told him he should be Mayor of Liverpool. Forget that, put him on the board at Everton.

Allan Betty
38 Posted 27/01/2024 at 08:19:11
Getting past the issue that, if you deduct anything to do with the new stadium from Everton's accounts, Everton would be within the limits. (In other words, if Everton did not build the new stadium, the loans would not have been taken out as Everton would not have needed extra working capital, so the interest payments in question would never have arisen), raising the question, if infrastructure expenditure really is exempt?

The main issue here is the sanction policy moving forward. I assume the rest of the clubs are unhappy with the rules, hence why Masters said there will be rule changes. This opens the Premier League up to a fat lawsuit from Nottm Forest and especially Everton.

If the rules, as they are currently being administered, are changed due to clubs wanting to vote them down due to the anti-competitive nature (turnover means the biggest always have the most to spend), then when another club gets charged under the new penalty rules, it will most likely result in a lighter sentence.

Should the lighter sentence, if applied to the two clubs, means they would've survived, then this demonstrates that firstly the rules have been changed to appease the clubs in the Premier League, and secondly that, for a matter of fact, the two clubs should've remained in the league.

Jack Convery
39 Posted 27/01/2024 at 08:53:12
The guy is the only puppet / muppet hybrid in existence. A puppet of Sky and the cartel of the Sly Six. A muppet because he hasn't a brain just a very high opinion of himself.

His 'small club' remark tells us all that the two-tier system actually exists – no shit, Sherlock.

Michael Kenrick
40 Posted 27/01/2024 at 09:30:24
Hi Allan, and welcome to our forum.

I think you're right about the stadium and infrastructure costs, but the difficult one really is the knock-on effect, especially since losing the sponsorship of USM which was directly stadium-related.

One figure I heard suggests that it could have been as much as £200M, which represents a massive hole in Everton's finances, even if spread over a number of years, and more crucially it meant having to find money to fill that hole… which inevitably resulted in increased losses for the business as a whole, pushing them deeper toward the PSR vortex.

That makes the offhand rejection by the independent commission of the mitigating circumstances created by Putin's horrible war on Ukraine even more egregious because it could not have been foreseen, it was an entirely arbitrary decision by the UK Government to sanction Russian businesses in the UK, and completely out of Everton's control, and yet they were expected to somehow make good, with no allowance for the massive effect on their finances that would have significantly increased their losses, directly impacting the club's profitability and sustainability.

But I'm not so sure about your belief that changing the rules will give Nottingham Forest and Everton cause to sue the Premer League. Yes, it sounds unfair, but you have to factor in that the very nature of the Premier League is of a private members club in which a super-majority of those member clubs agrees to the rules that are put in place — and here's the crucial bit that I cannot emphasize strongly enough — a super-majority those clubs (at least 14 out of 20) have to agree to any changes.

This is not Richard Masters acting on a whim. In putting forward the squad-cost ratio approach for consideration by the clubs, the Premier League is proposing a more direct way of controlling the sporting advantage issue by limiting investment in the playing staff and tying it to a club's revenue.

It will still favour those clubs with greater revenue and thus could be viewed as even less competitive than the current structure. However, any kind of financial restriction is a limit on the free-for-all that existed before and was deemed to be unsustainable for football.

But hardly a basis for any member club to go suing the hierarchy. That just ain't happening.

The logic of your last paragraph is difficult to grasp unless both clubs are in fact relegated. Which they are not at this point in time. However, it does suggest yet another angle that could be used to argue against the 10-point sanction at the appeal. If controlling the squad cost ratio is to be the way forward, then Everton I am sure can show that, for the past 2 or 3 years, they have drastically reduced squad costs in a concerted effort to be compliant, even to the extent of imposing a wage cap — and that, in and of itself, has conferred upon Everton a massive sporting disadvantage which has seen them venture to the brink of disastrous relegation — not once but twice in that time since the breaches were alleged.

Danny O’Neill
42 Posted 27/01/2024 at 09:46:26
Meanwhile, Chelsea are cleared to have a Russian backed Crypto Currency sleeve sponsor
Dave Abrahams
43 Posted 27/01/2024 at 09:52:22
Geoff (29)

“Every point you take
Every move you make
We'll be watching you.

Love that, Geoff., “We're simply the best
Better than all the rest”

Jerome Shields
44 Posted 27/01/2024 at 10:06:26
Christine #35,

Enjoyed your post, that is the Premier League for sure.

Allan #38,

Everton have been scrapping the bottom for years. Kenwright sold his shares as his tenure was on its last legs, mortgaged to the hilt... He would have eventually sold Everton for two pigs, but he was lucky enough to sell Everton for a goose with a golden egg. No new stadium would have ever been built.

Moshiri managed the building and financing of the new stadium and by all accounts has done a good job. The problem is that his main backer disappeared. He had to find alternative finance, which was difficult with the burden of a badly run club.

He had handed the running of the club to Kenwright who, within 2 years, had it on its knees. MoshirI intervened financially but found himself up against a culture perpetuated by Kenwright which worked against him.

Moshiri had not got the required knowledge to run such an organisation, never mind his football knowledge. God knows in his nativity what he had agreed to. He did well keeping the finances of the new stadium going, and it will be built.

The new stadium will probably prevent Everton disappearing into lower-league media obscurity, though many fans would be glad of being back to football. Had Moshiri not arrived,

Everton would have continued on its 20-year decline with the pillars of Goodison and would under the Chairmanship of Kenwright been in breach of the Profitability and Sustainability Rules in some form with no way back, either in the Premier League or Championship.

They would almost certainly not have been the central protagonist in a Parliamentary Committee holding the Premier League to account.

Why? Because the main motivation of Everton progress is generations of Evertonians.

Dave Abrahams
45 Posted 27/01/2024 at 10:23:33
Jerome (44),

That's the way I see it, although many will disagree, all on Moshiri with the main culprit over 20 years getting off very lightly and with a very healthy bank balance… pity you can't take it with you!

Si Pulford
46 Posted 27/01/2024 at 10:43:01
Semantics? Yes… does that mean it's not important? No.

Pretty bizarre to say something so important to the argument is ‘semantics'.

By dictionary definition pretty much anything can be called semantics.

It's important enough for the DCMS to ask for clarification and backs up many people's idea that the Premier League is set up nowadays to protect the few at the expense of the many.

Calling it semantics is agreeing or saying it basically doesn't matter. It does matter. We're in a league where the richest club on the planet (Newcastle) can't spend money because it may upset the status quo.

The DCMS want to challenge language like that, and rightly so, but some Blues on ToffeeWeb……

Geoff Cadman
47 Posted 27/01/2024 at 11:56:12
Dave 43 thanks and yes we are the best, as yet another excellent post goes to prove.
Unlike the Premier league where " Every charge is Fake" and "Every rule they Break
John Keating
48 Posted 27/01/2024 at 12:24:01
Jerome @44 and Dave @45,

Without doubt Moshiri's legacy will be our new stadium. Had he, and his backer, not appeared, we really would have had our safety certificate rescinded.

However, also without doubt, the biggest mistake, ever, Moshiri made was, after getting control of the Club, was keeping Kenwright and his acolytes in place. Had he binned the lot of them and brought in real business people, we may well have been sitting pretty fighting for a European place and financially sound.

The new stadium was Moshiri's high point; keeping Kenwright there was his lowest.

Dave Abrahams
49 Posted 27/01/2024 at 12:25:40
Geoff (47),

Keep it up, “ Every rule they break” is the one, they even altered one halfway through being charged and sentenced!!

Martin Farrington
50 Posted 27/01/2024 at 12:46:59
Christine @ 35,

I'm shocked at your regulations. I note, there ain't no sanity clue!

(Q- Marx Bros "Night at The Opera / The Damned)

Jerome Shields
51 Posted 27/01/2024 at 12:54:51
John #48,

When Kenwright's shares were being offered for sale, Keith Harris, Everton Director, publically said that no-one would agree to the terms and conditions that Kenwright was asking for. Moshiri obviously agreed to a lot of these conditions. Why?

In my opinion, because it got him in at a discount and his backers were more interested in managing their money, rather than managing the club.

The primary investment was a dockland development and someone who could keep the authorities off their back. Moshiri managed to isolate himself in the immediate term from his backer when Ukraine blew up but their faith in assurances regarding the Premier League were misplaced.

Long term both may be coming home to roost. That is the rearguard action Evertonians are possibly currently fighting.and punching about their weight at.

I know a Management Consultant who was a worldwide specialist in takeovers. He told me that the taking-over company's culture has to dominate, or else you might get a reverse takeover which is always a disaster. What culture Moshiri represented is very open to question, if it was ever at all relevant to the management of the club.

Brendan McLaughlin
52 Posted 27/01/2024 at 13:10:22
Si #46

"Semantics? Yes...does that mean it's not important?"

Well actually, yes...if it's semantics, it does mean it's not important.

Masters didn't introduce the term into the conversation, he simply replied to a question using that description as that was the term used in the question posed to him by a member of the Select Committee.

Some are now trying to portray this as a sort of "smoking gun" rather ignoring the fact that no-one on the Select Committee chose to challenge him on his use of the term at the time.

It isn't even a storm in a teacup.

Si Cooper
53 Posted 27/01/2024 at 14:52:51
“Masters didn't introduce the term into the conversation, he simply replied to a question using that description as that was the term used in the question posed to him by a member of the Select Committee.”

Someone else may have introduced the term but that doesn’t mean Masters simply had to keep using it. In fact he really should have made a point of refuting the term or defining what was meant by ‘small clubs’.

Someone in Masters position should be actively saying ‘there are no big or small clubs, just clubs.’ The fact that he was seemingly happy to keep it in as a descriptor is what is telling.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
54 Posted 27/01/2024 at 15:55:12
Totally agree, Si. He was suckered into it and fell into the trap.
Any CEO with any intelligence would have spotted the trap and replied as you said.

Shows either:
a. there is a big 6 and the little clubs... or
b. Masters is not up to the task.

So, Richard, which is it?

Jerome Shields
55 Posted 28/01/2024 at 03:42:14
Brendan #52,

It has become part of the agenda because it now has been included by the Committee twice in questions. Masters has to answer the question.

He did not query the term the first time, and therefore verified it. The second time, he may query it, but it will be in the debate to be latched onto anyway.

Russell Smith
56 Posted 29/01/2024 at 09:37:49
There is one obvious “change” that the Premier League will use as a counter-argument to both our appeal and the need for an independent commission… That is, as a result of the draconian punishment on Everton, all clubs are being ultra careful in the current transfer window to stay within P & S rules.

This will also drive down transfer fees and players wages for all but the most elite players in future transfer windows. The Premier League will view this as justification for our 10-point deduction and their hardline approach.

Christine Foster
57 Posted 29/01/2024 at 11:18:43
Russell, I confess you may be right, in which case they will ensure that the sanction stays in place (or for that matter, reduce the first offence but make it up on the second. You know, "We will reduce the first offence to 6 points and impose the same deduction for the second offence... 12 points" and they all laugh at the same time..

Sacrificial lamb for dinner, stitched up, served with a helping of vindictiveness. The ploy worked, teams are panicking into selling players, cutting costs, brilliant!

Well done, Mr Masters! Shame about Everton... what a patsy though, again... tell you what we will give them some good news..

For desserts, 777 are approved..

With a duly appointed new "independent commission" already briefed, whereby any appeal decision would be made after the season ends (no ability for those pesky fans to embarrass us at games again). It all sounds like a very convenient stitch-up. We've been done up a kipper...

Anthony Hawkins
58 Posted 29/01/2024 at 13:36:29
Do we have a date when the appeal will be heard?
Anthony Hawkins
59 Posted 29/01/2024 at 13:51:22
I've seen a few comments relating to reports of others, including the media stating 'you knew the rules'. Well, yes. Is anyone saying that the club didn't break the rules?

Based on a 1+1, the outcome would seem correct. What we're also aware of is a just punishment and that the rules also state mitigating circumstances could be taken into account. Neither of which seem to have been taken into consideration.

What also appears to be lacking is pragmatism, insofar as applying punishment aimed at avoiding administration endangers the going concern entering administration. Is that truly the intended application of the rules? I think not.

On the basis the rules have been breached, apply the appropriate punishment. That's not what is happening today.

Anthony Hawkins
60 Posted 29/01/2024 at 13:58:35
Christine @57,

What would be the recourse if punishment is applied prior to the season end, we're docked x number of points yet, in the unlikely event, on appeal, the point deduction is rescinded? Would the points be reinstated or do we start the new season with positive points (won't happen!)? The commission outcome still seems very wayward to me.

Something that has always stunk for me is the timing of the original commission, which was mid-season during closed transfer windows. The outcome was known and the Premier League also knew there was zero possibility for the club to correct the balance (eg, with player sales) before accounts were due to be submitted.

Had the hearing been in the summer or, for instance, January, there was time and means to resolve the issue. I guess that was the plan all along.

Peter Roberts
61 Posted 29/01/2024 at 16:41:20
Slightly off subject. It would be interesting what punishment (if any) the FA give WBA & Wolves after the violence on Saturday.

Everton were fined £300,000 after the celebrating fans ran on the pitch after we avoided relegation last season. I think it was stated that our fans may have endangered player safety.

Mal van Schaick
62 Posted 29/01/2024 at 17:03:12
It has all the hallmarks of the Premier League embroiling themselves in double standards.

The outcome of the Everton case will set precedence regarding financial investigations into other Premier League clubs' finances and subsequent punishment.

I can't see the judgment against Everton being upheld, as we know that other Premier League clubs are charged and therefore, if the case against them is proven, those clubs have to suffer punishment as we have done. The context and severity of their punishment is firmly under the Everton microscope.

I can see a ‘can of worms' being opened and the Premier League open to scrutiny themselves.

This is our club, our history and our future and the divisive rules are bringing the whole situation into disrepute!

Michael Kenrick
63 Posted 29/01/2024 at 21:30:32
Anthony @60,

I think I understand your second point but unfortunately, I don't think it would have been possible for Everton at that late stage to do anything in terms of player sales to affect the accounts which led to the first PSR charge.

Those accounts were closed at the end of June 2022 and could not be changed by any player sales after the charge (in April 2023), or the commission hearing (in October 2023), or the sanction (in November 2023).

Reading the judgement, it seems the commission believed Everton were given plenty of warning over a period of around 2 years that their player purchases were running too close to the wind and were the primary cause of the first breach.

Furthermore, it contains an ominous assessment that Everton had still not changed their ways in the subsequent season (2022-23) and may explain why Everton had no option but to submit PSR numbers for the period ending 2022-23 that were in excess of the allowable limit, hence the second PSR charge.

There was never any time or means to resolve the issue after those problem accounts were submitted.

Brian Harrison
64 Posted 30/01/2024 at 10:49:20
Reading some of this morning's papers you can see how many clubs are now battling to stay inside the P&S rules. The Athletic is saying that Villa are looking to sell Jacob Ramsey to help them stay within the present P&S rules.

Also "money no object" Newcastle have failed in being able to sell Almiron for £30M to help them stay within the rules. I am sure come the meeting at the end of the season, clubs will be demanding the Premier League change the qualification for staying within the P&S rules going forward.

David Vaughan
65 Posted 30/01/2024 at 11:03:47
We should change our nickname to The Scapegoats...
Danny O’Neill
66 Posted 30/01/2024 at 11:16:54
It will interesting, Brian.

I've been saying for some time that there will be a few looking nervously over their shoulder.

Forest and Villa.

Newcastle reportedly overspending by £75M.

There will be others. They've all been at it and have been for years.

And then we have the unsurprising Premier League impression of an ostrich with its head in the sand over Chelsea and Manchester City.

Brian Wilkinson
67 Posted 30/01/2024 at 15:27:42
Masters has really dropped himself in it over a reply.

First he said Everton have been over spending for years, wrong, they have been selling players and working hand in hand with you.

Then when the 6 were mentioned, he said it was a none sporting advantage which was quickly pointed out that so was Evertons on interest costs to the stadium.

Our defence team will destroy masters in the coming Days.

After being so hell bent on trying to make Everton an easy target, to justify no need for outside regulators to come in, I really believe this will come in now and Everton will indeed succeed on being so harshly treated.

They have destroyed their very own yellow tie deadline Day, most teams are being very careful with spending.

Masters time is numbered in his current position, the Premier league is on its knees on keeping a lid on the most blatant corruption and favouritism, where is Panarama or Roger Cook when you need them.

Wayne Redge
68 Posted 09/02/2024 at 08:06:07
So the deadline for Richard Masters’ response to DCMS was yesterday. Will we ever find out whether he replied and what his reply was? Surely we will get to see the minutes if they are released
Tony Abrahams
69 Posted 09/02/2024 at 08:20:59
Masters obviously missed out the word “different” when he said the rules are for everyone.

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