More consequences could be coming to Premier League teamsGetty Images
The Premier League’s “so-called ‘Big Six’ are at odds with rivals over the long-awaited” $162M pyramid rescue package as a “wealth-gap row reignites after the Everton crisis,” according to Morgan, Wallace & Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. A meeting between the 20 top-tier shareholders tomorrow “will be the most consequential in years” as clubs “finally attempt to vote through their New Deal for the wider game.” However, amid “increasingly febrile scenes” after Everton’s 10-point deduction for spending breaches, “tensions are resurfacing over whether the top clubs will be contributing enough to the bill.” A transfer levy of sorts, in addition to the traditional formula of relating contributions “strictly to prize money, now appears likely” as a model is finalized tomorrow. Several smaller clubs “complain a sliding-scale payment system based on merit alone would leave them paying a much higher proportion of their revenue into the solidarity pot.” The Everton situation has “prompted MPs to pile renewed pressure on the Premier League to finally announce the New Deal this week after years of talks.” The league’s “main priority is to ward off a more restrictive model” under the new independent regulator in English football which was outlined in the King Charles III’s speech earlier this month (London TELEGRAPH, 11/19).
KNOWING WHEN TO STOP: In London, Sam Wallace wrote “time and again, Everton were invited to make savings, rein in costs and — put simply — stop burning through cash by a Premier League that was keen the club did not break the financial rules that govern its 20 members.” The problem is, as last week’s judgement laid out, Everton, and their owner Farhad Moshiri, “just did not know how to stop.” Accommodations “were made, deadlines set, but the spending never ceased.” Never has it “been clearer” that the EPL has to “attack quickly with its power of governance, rather than try to defend its rules retrospectively — for the good of the habitual offenders as well as the rest.” Everton are “by no means the only ones at risk.” The allegations emerging from Chelsea under the Roman Abramovich regime, “of payments made to agents off the books, and much of it unknown to the current ownership,” looks like it “could be the Premier League’s latest governance nightmare.” It could “hardly be any worse” than Manchester City’s 115 charges, some of which “date back to the 2009-10 season.” The EPL is “not the NFL,” which is 32 franchises combined as one legal entity with “no relegation and the power invested in the league to control competitive advantage.” Neither is an independent regulator “any guarantee against another club repeating the mistakes of Everton” (London TELEGRAPH, 11/19).
DREAMS MONEY CAN’T BUY: In London, Jonathan Northcroft noted some of the many ways in which Everton sought to justify the breach were “remarkable,” and the way the club “tested the patience of the commission — which had to wade through 40,000 documents — is seen in the judgment’s rather peeved and non-legal language in places.” The reason Everton were “sailing close to the wind in the first place lay in the extraordinary investment that Moshiri made in chasing success at the start of his ownership.” He has spent $936M “since taking control in February 2016,” with by far the “biggest chunk going on transfers, wages, coaching changes, and associated fees.” Within Everton’s “proud and fiery fan base there is understandable consternation that their club, their littler and less-litigious club, is the first and only club to be punished this way” — and for a single breach, when Manchester City — into whom investigations began in 2019 — have been charged with 115 breaches and “yet are said to be at least two years away from facing judgment” (London TIMES, 11/19).
UNWELCOME FIRST: THE ATHLETIC’s Matt Slater writes the scale of Everton’s punishment is “unprecedented” and the “threat of litigation from other clubs could again take Everton into uncharted territory.” These are “potentially more unwelcome firsts for a club with a history as rich as Everton’s.” Yet that is “where the wealth ends these days,” as Moshiri put them up for sale last year. His agreement with American private investment firm 777 Partners is “subject to regulatory approval,” and two months into that process, there is “uncertainty only adding to the nerves about what is next for this club.” The longer it goes on, the “more questions are raised about 777’s ability to pull off a rescue.” 777 wants the club because it “knows it could leverage the value in the new stadium to fund not just Everton’s rebuild” but the “various turnaround projects it has taken on at other clubs.” This means the stadium, where the budget for the project has “unsurprisingly swollen” from $624M to $948.9M, is “not the millstone that some seem to think is dragging Everton down.” It is the “lifejacket keeping them afloat.” But the “tragedy for Everton” is they become “tenants of the building which was meant to transform their fortunes, not those of a bank, billionaire or investment fund” (THE ATHLETIC, 11/20).
APPEAL LOADING: In London, Paul Joyce writes Everton’s next set of accounts “will come under fresh scrutiny” after the EPL confirmed that clubs “can be punished for breaching profit and sustainability rules in consecutive seasons.” The club is “expected to formally submit an appeal” this week against their ten-point deduction for “failing to adhere to the top flight’s spending regulations.” The next three-year period “will take into account the final two years of the previous assessment, plus the latest year.” Everton’s losses in 2021 were $150.9M and $55.8M in 2022, “so a strong set of results for the latest 12 months would appear to be imperative, to stop them again breaching the limit over three years.” The appeal against the commission’s judgment “will be heard, and concluded, by a new panel before the end of this season, although no new evidence is permissible” (London TIMES, 11/20).