The Premier League’s decision to punish Everton for being found guilty of breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules has sent shock waves around Chelsea and Manchester City.
Sean Dyche’s men saw a five-place drop from 14th into the relegation zone after looking incredibly likely to avoid a third consecutive relegation fight. Premier League rules permit clubs to lose £105million over a three-year period – Everton have posed a £430million deficit over five years.
The punishment at Goodison Park was a landmark moment in English football with the Toffees becoming the first team to be docked points for breaking FFP regulations. And now, Chelsea and Man City could face similar problems.
Question marks over the Blues’ spending under former owner Roman Abramovich have developed over the last week following a recent investigation into alleged payments made by the club. These said payments, which belong to the Russian billionaire, were ‘routed through offshore vehicles’.
In City’s case, the European champions have been charged with 115 alleged breaches of financial rules. Unlike Chelsea’s situation, the case involving Pep Guardiola’s team is likely to take years to sort given the immense scrutiny it will have to undergo.
Everton’s punishment has sparked concerns with both teams of what could happen to them. Alongside a points deduction, reports of a possible relegation to Chelsea and Man City has been touted.
Stefan Borson, a lawyer who previously advised City, has admitted that relegation from the Premier League is a genuine possibility. “Without seeing the judgement/award – 10 points for Everton feels harsh for a straightforward FFP breach to me,” he said.
“But reinforces that sanctions against City [if proven] and now Chelsea [if charged and admitted on the off-books payments] will be potentially relegation inducing.
“One thing is for sure, given the scale of this sporting sanction, Chelsea’s calculus [in my opinion] that they could breach PL P&S [Profit and Sustainability] and just take a fine as a cost of doing business, must be in urgent and immediate reconsideration.
“The January window may be interesting. Even in the best case, they can no longer rely on being able to convince an Independent Commission to accept their Covid and Sanctions allowances as exceptional adjustments [to the extent that was the plan].
“A glimpse from today’s judgement as to why the City case takes so long (so much longer than Everton). Everton was really a relatively vanilla P&S breach case over the short period in question. City’s case is 10x more complex/voluminous. It has many more moving parts, more documents, more witnesses of fact and potentially, more experts.”