26.02.2024 17:16 h

Everton's 10-point deduction reduced to six

Everton's penalty for breaching Premier League financial rules has been reduced from 10 points to six following an appeal, giving them a major boost in their relegation battle.

The club were hit with the hefty punishment in November after an independent commission found they had exceeded permitted losses under the league's profitability and sustainability rules (PSRs) by £19.5 million ($25 million) over an assessment period ending with the 2021/22 season.

Clubs are allowed to lose a maximum £105 million over a three-year period or face sanctions.

The original ruling -- the biggest points deduction in Premier League history -- left one of England's most storied clubs 19th in the table and fighting to avoid the drop.

But an independent appeal board has cut the punishment by four points, lifting Sean Dyche's men to 15th in the table -- five points clear of the relegation zone with 12 games remaining.

"Everton FC appealed the sanction imposed against it on nine grounds, each of which related to the sanction rather than the fact of the breach, which the club admitted," the Premier League said in a statement on Monday.

"Two of those nine grounds were upheld by the appeal board, which has substituted the original points deduction of 10 for six."

The appeal board concluded that the original commission made "legal errors" on two grounds.

It found the original commission was wrong in finding Everton had been "less than frank" in relation to what they told the Premier League about debt linked to their new stadium, and finding that in being so the club had breached a league rule requiring an obligation to act in utmost good faith.

While Everton's representations regarding the stadium were found to be materially wrong, it was not the Premier League's case that that was anything other than an innocent mistake.

The appeal board also found it was wrong of the commission not to take into account available benchmarks for sanctions, such as English Football League guidelines.

Everton said they were satisfied the appeal had resulted in a reduction in the original punishment.

The Goodison Park club, in the process of building a new stadium, could face another possible points deduction after being charged with breaching rules for a second time in January, for the three seasons up to 2022/23.

Everton said in a statement they were "particularly pleased with the appeal board's decision to overturn the original commission's finding that the club failed to act in utmost good faith".

"That decision, along with reducing the points deduction, was an incredibly important point of principle for the club on appeal," the statement added. "The club, therefore, feels vindicated in pursuing its appeal.

"Notwithstanding the appeal board's decision, and the positive outcome, the club remains fully committed to cooperating with the Premier League in respect of the ongoing proceedings brought for the accounting period ending in June 2023."

Nine-time English champions Everton have been a continuous presence in the top flight since 1954 and have never been relegated from the Premier League.

But they only avoided the drop by two points last season, last won a trophy in 1995 and have spent years in the shadow of city rivals Liverpool.

Premier League champions Manchester City were charged last year with 115 alleged breaches of financial fair play regulations in a case that is ongoing.

Only two other clubs have received points deductions in Premier League history.

Middlesbrough were deducted three points for failing to fulfil a fixture against Blackburn during the 1996/97 season, while in 2010 Portsmouth were deducted nine points after going into administration.

Both clubs were unable to avoid relegation.