Leading sports lawyers give verdict on Everton appeal against Premier League points deduction
A pair of prominent sports lawyers have told The Guardian they do not believe Everton have a good chance of overturning their points deduction on appeal.
The paper reported on 17 November after a 10-point penalty was imposed on the Toffees, with the club immediately signalling their intent to appeal via a message from interim CEO Colin Chong, that neither Catherine Forshaw and Nii Anteson were confident that the decision would be entirely rescinded.
Additionally, while Forshaw suggested a reduction may be possible, she expressed some doubt over the club’s chances of securing it based on the need to prove evidence had been ignored in the original commission hearing.
Forshaw said: “It may be a case that the sanction is reduced, but they’d have to prove that there had been an unjust finding or evidence had been ignored.
“And given the scrutiny of the case, and how long this has gone on for, I think it’s unlikely.”
In light of the fact that Everton have been hit by such a heavy punishment for a single breach it is bound to be an uphill struggle whatever happens next.
There is believed to be some confidence among sources close to the club that the 10-points will be reduced but it sounds like it will be a challenge for the Toffees’ representatives in the appeal hearing.
With previously relegated rival clubs apparently intending to claim for compensation it looks like Everton are only at the beginning of another arduous and concerning process.
As it stands Sean Dyche and the players can probably overcome even the current deduction, but anything more if financial blows sent the club into administration would be a different matter.
Everton don’t actually dispute that they did breach spending limits, having changed their position just ahead of the hearing last month [Times, 17 November].
But the various mitigating factors involved in their reasons for why they did so don’t appear to have impressed the panel a great deal if they have handed down a record Premier League punishment.
An appeals board might see their argument differently, but it is unlikely to be as straight forward as simply getting a second opinion when the procedural requirements are that the clubs representatives must prove why the first finding was flawed.