As you will have seen recently, Everton were deducted 10 points for ‘Financial Irregularities’. But what exactly does this mean, both for them and further afield? And does this have any potential implications for us?
Well, to dissect that, we must first understand exactly what Everton have been found guilty of. Essentially, Everton were charged with violating Premier League rules, which dictate the maximum losses, for the three seasons ending with 2021-22.
According to the Premier League their losses amounted to £124.5m for this period. The amount of losses allowed for that period – with allowances given for the COVID period – were £105m so they were over by £19.5m.
Everton, as you’d expect, dispute this, claiming they simply accounted for certain payments differently and that some of the accounting practices they undertook have simply been misconstrued by the panel. As a result, they have appealed the 10-point punishment and in their recent statement, said they will ‘monitor with great interest the decisions made in any other cases’ when it comes to financial misconduct.
And with Man City’s 115 alleged breaches, plus Chelsea’s new owners recently reporting findings regarding previous ownership to the Premier League, it’s clear to see who they’re referring to. But more on that later. Back to the punishment handed out – it probably raises more questions than answers.
The charges were initially brought about last season and referred to the three seasons before that – so why is the punishment only being applied now? You would naturally expect this case to have been heard as a priority and the punishment enforced for the 2022-23 season.
That’s what the three clubs who were relegated last season (Leicester, Leeds and Southampton) seem to think, and rumours persist that they may file lawsuits seeking the monies lost as a result of their relegation. For Southampton and Leeds, it may seem a stretch given that had the Premier League acted last season and deducted the points there and then, they’d have still gone down – though as we saw back in the aftermath of the Carlos Tevez saga when we had to pay Sheffield United around £30m compensation, anything can happen.
That figure was, at the time, the believed difference in incomes that relegation caused. With that figure now being touted as £100m, and three clubs filing suits, that figure may well push Everton into administration, or even out of business. Let’s hope not. But whilst further punishment may or may not be on the horizon, the Premier League deduction of 10 points, as harsh as it may seem to some, may not be the worst thing in the world.
As mentioned,, it would have relegated them last season – though as the league starts to shape up with Burnley, Sheffield United and Luton being seen as three of the weakest teams to be in the league, even with the deduction, Everton are a mere five points from safety with 25 games still to play – a situation you’d suggest they’d find their way out of. Throughout all of this process though, there has never been a suggestion that Everton were dishonest or deceitful about their situation – indeed flagging up some of their discrepancies themselves.
Manchester City, meanwhile, have amongst other things been charged with not giving ‘a true and fair view of the club’s financial position,’ and failing to ‘include full details’ of how much the players and staff were paid, and of failing to cooperate with Premier League investigators. As such, some suggest that the seemingly harsh punishment given to Everton means some sort of unimaginable punishment awaits City and/or Chelsea if they’re found guilty.
Especially as Everton’s charge was just one offence – Man City meanwhile are facing 115. Quite what the view of the footballing authorities will be is anyone’s guess. Whilst many football going folk will be watching this with interest, none will be doing so more than Everton.
But what does this mean for West Ham? Do we need to be more considerate of living beyond our means? Well, in short – yes we do. We’re already on a UEFA watchlist for our spending – though the Premier League allows greater losses than the rest of UEFA, so this doesn’t mean too much domestically.
However, it’s worth noting that during the same period Everton were scrutinised over, West Ham lost £65 million in 2020 and £26.5million in 2021. Whilst we made a £10m profit in 2022, it still equates to an £80m loss. Within the Premier League limits, but over the UEFA limit, meaning we must still tread carefully.
2023 saw us pretty much break even on transfer fees – but FFP also factors in operating costs, and our wage bill would have significantly increased. Whilst there is some money to be spent, I wouldn’t expect any huge signings until we can move the 2020 losses off of our rolling three-year balance sheet.
So, a big money striker signing is much more likely in the summer, but there should hopefully be enough wiggle room for Tim Steidten to work his magic and pull a cheap deal out of the bag for us in January.