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Premier League legal costs against Everton revealed as club faces new PSR threat

-Credit: (Image: Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images for Premier League)
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images for Premier League)


The cost of the Premier League’s battles with Everton and others is said to have reached almost £30m.

The league waged two cases against the Blues last season as the club became the first to be subjected to a completed inquiry under the Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR). It was then the first to be hit with a second sanction during an unprecedented and controversial year of regulatory action.

Those cases led to Everton being deducted a combined total of eight points - but not before a successful appeal by the club led to its first punishment being dramatically reduced from 10 points - the highest deduction ever handed out to an English top flight club - to six points.

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The inconsistency in the interpretation and implementation of the rules highlighted by that appeal, and in the case heard against Nottingham Forest last season, was among the many sources of dissatisfaction among clubs and supporters over the regulatory framework.

Everton’s three hearings - the club chose to withdraw from an appeal against its second punishment - drove up the cost of legal counsel instructed by the Premier League. Forest were deducted four points after their hearing and then appealed, without success. The Times, which revealed the extent of the Premier League’s costs, said probes into Leicester City and Chelsea also contributed to the expense.

The biggest driver of costs is thought to be the Premier League’s disputes with Manchester City, however. The league is set to engage in a challenge by the club to its Associated Party Transactions rules, which state any sponsorship deal linked to a club’s owners must be of a fair market value. It is also preparing for its PSR case against Manchester City, which faces 115 charges that are set to be considered in a lengthy case expected to start in November.

That case will ensure next year will also be an expensive one for the league, which may be tasked with investigating, and potentially prosecuting, a series of new PSR cases with clubs including Everton thought to be struggling to comply with the current rules ahead of the June 30 deadline. The concerns, which stifled the January transfer market, will prove prohibitive to many clubs when the transfer window opens on Friday while presenting an opportunity to those with greater freedom to spend who could be able to secure talent for below market value by targeting clubs that need to sell before the end of the month for fear of risking a points deduction next season.

The Premier League is already committed to at least one further hearing with Everton over a dispute about how the club accounted for interest fees for loans it said were for work on the club’s new stadium. That argument was deferred earlier this year due to its complexity and the club is still waiting for clarity on the issue - which is impacting its ability to calculate its true position heading into the final weeks of this financial year.