Former Manchester City financial advisor issues Everton 'best case' points deduction appeal amid potential 'bigger issue'
The “best case” Everton can likely expect from their appeal against the 10-point deduction for a profit and sustainability breach is a reduction of four points, according to Stefan Borson.
Speaking on The Debrief from Caught Offside on 20 November the lawyer and former Manchester City financial advisor told Ben Jacobs and Angus Scott that the hearing would be “dealt with quickly”, possibly as early as the end of January, and it was “very unlikely” that it would be completely overturned.
With both Everton and the Premier League accepting a breach has occurred Borson suggested that it is the claims for compensation from other clubs that “might be a bigger issue” for the Toffees.
Borson said (32m 30s): “Given the fact the two parties are really not that far apart, both accept there’s a breach… it’s really going to be an argument over whether there’s any good precedent for Everton to have been treated a bit more leniently than 10 points.
“It’s not going to take a very long time, there’s not huge submissions that are going to be required, and I think the judgement is going to come out relatively quickly such that this situation is dealt with probably by the end of January, certainly by the end of February.”
He later added (43m 25s): “Trying to look at it in the cold light of day I think it’s unlikely that [Everton] have got great arguments, and on that basis I think it can be dealt with quickly and probably their best case is four points off the 10, so the range may be six to 10 points.
“It’s very unlikely that they’ll overturn the whole thing and make it a financial penalty only, and they’re not in a great position to pay the financial penalty anyway so I’m not sure that particularly helps them…
“They may be more concerned about the potential compensation issue that they’ve got from the other clubs. It’s just not clear how that’s going to be dealt with, the scale of it, whether it’s going to turn into something more serious than just the commission coming up with numbers.
“They’ll be concerned about that as well. That might be a bigger issue in some ways.”
Playing with fire
Everton are stuck in a very difficult position when the crux of their argument is that the punishment outweighs the crime, even though they accept there has been a transgression.
Given they have been hit by a top flight record punishment that surpasses the nine-point penalty for administration, for a single breach, and where they appeared to have a strong argument in mitigation, it is no surprise that they and many others feel that way.
They perhaps have to appeal on principle even if the points deduction as it currently stands might be something they could overcome based on the team’s form.
On paper it does look like the financial risks going forward, if the likes of Leicester City and Burnley are awarded compensation, are far more threatening.
But the fact that it is widely acknowledged that there is no precedent for any of this makes it highly disconcerting for Everton because there is no gauge of what the outcome might be, with the commission and then the appeals panel essentially making it up as they go along.
So as it stands it feels like the hope of a reduction in sanction is heavily outweighed by the ongoing fear or further problems to come.