Nottingham Forest and Everton could face points deduction after Premier League charges

The Toffees have already been docked 10 points but this is second charge

Nottingham Forest are facing a potential points deduction after being charged with breaching the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules (PSR), and Everton could lose more points after being charged with a further breach of the same rules.

The clubs have 14 days to reply to their charges before facing a hearing from an independent panel that will decide on any punishment. Forest can expect to learn their fate in early April and will have the right to appeal. The high-profile sports lawyer Nick De Marco KC has been employed to fight their case.

Everton were deducted 10 points in November for a £19.5 million (€22.6 million) overspend in 2021-22 and are awaiting the outcome of their appeal. This second charge relates to their accounts for 2022-23.

Everton are at risk of being deducted points twice in the same season for financial breaches, although the outcome of their appeal will have a major bearing on the latest charge. A date for the appeal has not been confirmed.


Should the appeal find in Everton’s favour and accept the mitigating factors that the club put forward for their losses, such as interest on loans for a new stadium and the loss of commercial deals connected to the oligarch Alisher Usmanov after the UK government imposed sanctions on him, that would lessen the breach not only for the period up to 2022 but up to 2023.

Should an appeal commission stand by the original findings and reject Everton’s arguments, the club faces the possibility of a second points deduction for the 2023 period. A resolution has to be found by the end of the season under Premier League guidelines.

Clubs are permitted to lose £105m over a three-year period – in effect £35m a season – but because Forest spent two seasons in the most recent cycle in the Championship, their losses are capped at £61m, equating to £13m in each of 2020-21 and 2021-22 and £35m last season.

Forest’s defence is expected to be based around their decision to delay the sale of Brennan Johnson to ensure they received the highest price possible for the academy graduate, whose fee would, in PSR terms, be deemed pure profit. The forward was sold on deadline day last September for £47.5m to Tottenham, two months after the cut-off point for complying with PSR.

If Forest had sold Johnson before June 30th, the club believe they would have received a lower fee. Although that would have put them the right side of the allowed losses, they are expected to argue it was better for their long-term health to maximise their profit and make them more sustainable.

Since promotion from the Championship through the playoffs in 2022, Forest have spent about £250m on 43 players to create a squad capable of competing in the Premier League. Forty players have arrived but the club had few saleable assets, making Johnson’s departure significant. At the start of last summer Forest received a number of written offers of about £30m for Johnson but knew they could get more if they bided their time.

There are yet to be incomings at Forest this month as the club takes a cautious approach in the market, needing to sell before they can consider adding to Nuno Espírito Santo’s squad, who sit three places and four points above the relegation zone.

“Nottingham Forest acknowledges the statement from the Premier League confirming that the club has today been charged with a breach of the league’s profitability and sustainability rules,” Forest said. “The club intends to continue to co-operate fully with the Premier League on this matter and are confident of a speedy and fair resolution.”

Everton, one place and one point above the relegation zone, can be punished again even though the 10-point deduction was for three of the four years that have resulted in the latest charge. The club has raised concerns about double jeopardy with the Premier League but been informed that is a matter for the independent commission that will consider the latest charge. Unlike the EFL, the Premier League has no guidelines for capping losses in years that have already been subject to a sanction.

Everton criticised the league’s rules in a statement reflecting on Monday’s charge: “This relates to a period which covers seasons 2019-20, 2020-21, 2021-22 and 2022-23. It therefore includes financial periods (2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22) for which the club has already received a 10-point sanction. The club is currently appealing that sanction.

“The Premier League does not have guidelines which prevent a club being sanctioned for alleged breaches in financial periods which have already been subject to punishment, unlike other governing bodies, including the EFL. As a result – and because of the Premier League’s new commitment to deal with such matters ‘in-season’ – the club is in a position where it has had no option but to submit a PSR calculation which remains subject to change, pending the outcome of the appeal.

“The club must now defend another Premier League complaint which includes the very same financial periods for which it has already been sanctioned, before that appeal has even been heard. The club takes the view that this results from a clear deficiency in the Premier League’s rules.”

Everton believe they are being unjustly punished for losses associated with the construction of their new stadium at Bramley Moore dock and for ending sponsorship deals with companies connected to Usmanov after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. USM had agreed a £200m naming rights deal for the new stadium, for example, and the loss of those commercial deals had an impact on Everton’s accounts for 2022-23.

The club’s latest set of accounts have not been published, only submitted to the league, but the losses are understood to be connected to lost commercial revenue and stadium costs rather than expenditure in the transfer market. Only Brighton and Luton, of current Premier League clubs, have a lower net spend on players over the past five years than Everton.

Their finances remain in a perilous state under the owner, Farhad Moshiri, who is no longer funding the club as he attempts to sell his majority shareholding to 777 Partners. The Premier League has yet to ratify the takeover by the controversial American investment firm. It remains to be seen whether the latest charge prompts 777 to withdraw its interest. – Guardian

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