Everton privately admit doubts over independent hearing next month amid threat of 'extinction'- Philippe Auclair
Everton are facing the threat of “extinction” and some at the club have expressed doubts over the upcoming independent hearing on profit and sustainability, according to Philippe Auclair.
The journalist reports via the Eurosport website (14 September) that Toffees figures have “privately acknowledge that it will be very complicated to convince the independent auditors charged with inspecting their finances that it is the impact of COVID” after losses totalling €450million [£389m] over three years.
Despite the positive net spend in this year’s transfer market the current financial year is said not to have “cleaned up” the “nightmarish” accounts as the club continues to accumulate debt in “extreme proportions”, with some rival clubs said to be “furious” at the delayed hearing – to be heard on 25 October [BBC Sport] – after the Premier League referral in March.
According to Auclair, Everton already have debts worth €160m [£137m], on which they are having to pay interest of nearly €60,000 per week [£51,400], as well as a €180m loan [£154m] which would have to be entirely renegotiated in the event of relegation.
Added to that he attributes the “staggering” cost of a new stadium project which “makes no sense”, up to over €800m [£686m] from a starting figure of €350m [£300m], as contributing to the existential threat.
He writes: “The reality is that Everton might as well have built its stadium on quicksand and that, far from prospering, Everton, forced to get rid of its best players, forced to mortgage its future income, a sad circus of white elephants that we no longer even dare to parade, today contemplates its own disappearance.”
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Everton have publicly stated their intention to “robustly” defend their position in the face of the profit and sustainability referral and maintain they have not committed any breach, thanks to allowable costs.
If the confidence behind closed doors is different to that it is clearly a worrying prospect for supporters, with the threat of point deductions on the cards if found against.
Having narrowly avoided relegation in the past two seasons as it is, and started the new campaign with one point from a possible 12, any such punishment might cement their fate a third time around.
While Farhad Moshiri is widely reported to be in advanced talks with 777 Partners about a deal to sell the club there have been questions raised about the likelihood of that happening, at least soon.
And while there have been some more encouraging verdicts on the immediate future of the club, and the stadium development [the esk, 12 September], Auclair has been absolutely damning over the direction of travel.
If his apocalyptic outlook is anywhere near accurate then it suggests the stakes could hardly be higher at Goodison, and with the hearing coming up next month the situation could become more desperate dependent on the outcome.