If I can remove my red-tinted glasses that skew my view of all things Everton and always push me to have a good laugh at their expense, last week’s 10-point deduction was the club’s financial cock-ups for penalized the years 2019-2022. quite convenient for everyone.
It may sound strange to Everton fans who have only seen their side drop from comfortable mid-table to 19th without ever actually taking the field, but it is. And Everton have been in the wrong place at the wrong time when it comes to a Premier League that wants to look like it doesn’t need an independent regulator imposed on it by the British government.
First, the convenience for Everton. While they will certainly create a defiant jet engine of a roar when the Toffees face Manchester United on Sunday, airing all their grievances at the top of their lungs for 90 minutes, deep down they will know they were lucky to get this punishment now rather than say, last March or April. If it was the latter, Everton would be playing Championship football right now, which would have left a lot of long-lasting damage to the club that it cannot address now.
Getting this punishment now is going to do little for Everton in the long run. Yes, they are now in the relegation zone. They could be out of it on Sunday night. Luton, Sheffield United and Burnley are the extent of the ass. If Everton cannot match Burnley, collect one more point than Sheffield United and two more than Luton in the 26 games left to play (they have a much better goal difference than all of them already), they will deserve to fall. This is highly unlikely. Everton were never going to challenge for European places this season anyway, and they could still finish well above the relegation zone, which was probably the height of their ambition for this season.
Although they will never say it, it is hard to believe that this did not enter the commission’s thinking for the application of the heaviest penalty ever levied against a Premier League team. They may appear to take the league’s FFP rules very seriously and breaches of them even more seriously, when they don’t really harm a club long term. It’s a bit of a show of strength without actually showing that much strength as they haven’t really condemned Everton to anything other than looking temporarily uncomfortable in the table for a month or two.
And why does the Premier League want to look strong, able to run their own house? Because since six of its clubs spent a good 20 minutes saying they were leaving for a European Super League, the British government has been tthreatening to install an independent regulator to keep them all in check. Not only that, but the regulator can stifle the biggest clubs in other ways, spreading the wealth in the pyramid and preventing them from acting as they wish. The Premier League will do anything to stop it, including looking like it actually wants to regulate itself. What it doesn’t do.
Still, even with all the hands that have gone on here and the everything that has been put in the closet to keep the room looking clean for mom, it’s hard not to feel a little for Everton. Because not only have Everton admitted to breaking the rules, and although there is a dispute between them and the Premier League about how much they went over the spending limit, even following the Premier League’s demands, it wasn’t even £20 million left. . The rules are the rules, of course, and maybe it shouldn’t matter how much a club goes over that limit. But it sounds really harsh, especially when we consider other clubs, which we will get to.
However, the dominant aspect is that Everton were not really mischievous. They were just stupid. Really, really stupid to be sure, but not exactly trying to attract anyone. They just threw good money after bad, riding through managers who wanted different players than the manager wanted before, who wanted different players than the manager wanted before. And most of those players weren’t good, and thus couldn’t be sold for significant money. All this while trying to build a new stadium and through a pandemic. Everton has also been undercut by its biggest investor, Alisher Usmanov, who has been banned from having anything to do with the club thanks to the war between Ukraine and Russia. Not really something anyone can predict.
It’s terrible mismanagement, but being a moron isn’t exactly illegal. Of course, it’s mismanagement that could have caused even bigger problems for Everton than relegation, and there have to be safeguards in place that galactic imbeciles can’t drop a team.
While there is an appeal to be heard, Everton certainly wasted no time pointing to Manchester City and Chelsea and shouting: “What are you going to do about them then?” A natural reaction, of course, but these are different types of cases. The money Everton blew is there for all to see and even Everton haven’t done much to dispute it. City and Chelsea’s cases revolve around what they did to cover up the money they spent over the limits, protect the money they spent, which means the Premier League has to prove that, A. they spent over the limits , and B. what they did to cover it up. This is a much more difficult task. In City’s case, the league must prove that City’s owners basically moved money from one pocket to another while calling it sponsorship income, why it is illegal, and how they masked it. One hundred and fifteen charges certainly speaks to its own story, but it is much darker than Everton’s case.
Still, if Everton got 10 points for going around 20 per cent over the limit, then 115 points over years and years of financial misery should land City facing Wrexham next season. But that’s not how it will work. Another factor in Everton’s penalty is that Everton doesn’t hold much water for the Premier League, regardless of its history. City have just been named the biggest club in the world, reigning Champions League winners who help boost the Premier League’s European standing every season, leading to things like the league finishing fifth in the extended standings next season, for example Champions League get. City help make that balloon international TV contracts that the other leagues in Europe can’t come close to. Are the Premier League really ready to take on someone their own size?
Everton certainly dug their own hole, but that hole was precisely in the Premier League’s sights at a time when they wanted to show their powers of discipline on someone they could get away with with a minimum of fuss. It was the perfect storm.
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