Nottingham Forest and Everton face points deduction after Premier League spending breach charges

Everton attacked in the Premier League as they face a second points deduction after being accused of spending breaches along with Nottingham Forest.

The Merseyside club cited a “clear deficiency” in the rules when the league moved to punish them again, two months after they were docked 10 points.

England’s top flight said in a statement that Everton and Forest had “confirmed” breaches of the league’s Profitability and Sustainability Rules. But when the two were referred to independent commissions, Everton attacked a fast-track process that was already facing scrutiny while the complex Manchester City case remains unresolved.

The Premier League angered Everton by applying its normal three-year maximum of £105m to the club’s overspending calculations. Forest, promoted in 2022, were said to have passed a lower loss threshold of £61m.

Everton claim that including two of the three years for which the club has already been banned creates a legal minefield given that the club is already appealing the previous punishment. “The club must now defend another Premier League complaint which includes exactly the same financial periods for which it has already been sanctioned, even before that appeal has been heard,” Everton said. “The club considers this to be due to a clear deficiency in the Premier League rules.”

Everton will argue that loans are required to cover infrastructure costs

Another grim precedent set by Monday’s charge means Everton, already just one point above the relegation zone, face the prospect of a third possible spending dispute next season. One of the league’s key arguments with Everton is over loan payments covering the 2021-22 period and whether they could be offset by the development of the Bramley-Moore Dock stadium or working capital.

Everton and Forest had been told they would be charged just hours before the Premier League announcement. “Everton FC and Nottingham Forest FC have confirmed to the Premier League that they are in breach of the League’s Profitability and Sustainability Rules (PSR),” the competition said.

Only the “most exceptional cases”, including the 115 charges City face, are exempt from the Premier League’s new rules, under which any club accused of breaching standard financial rules must be resolved within 12 weeks. The new rules forced Everton, Forest and all other clubs to submit 2022-23 accounts by December. 31, instead of March under the old rules.

Farhad Moshiri: Nottingham Forest and Everton accused of spending breach in Premier LeagueFarhad Moshiri: Nottingham Forest and Everton accused of spending breach in Premier League

Everton are already appealing a 10-point penalty for previous PSR infringements committed under Farhad Moshiri’s ownership – Getty Images/Alex Livesey

But both Everton and Forest believe they have a strong case to fight against the prospect of further sanctions under the new fast-track punishment model. Forest will advocate that the waiver include the proceeds from the sale of Brennan Johnson two months after the end of the period in question. Forest said he “intends to continue to co-operate fully with the Premier League in this matter and is confident of a swift and fair resolution.”

A total of 30 new players arrived in the season after Forest gained promotion to the Premier League in 2022, ending a 23-year absence from the top flight.

The team’s record signing had been Morgan Gibbs-White from Wolves for £25 million, which increased to £30 million when the club avoided relegation.

Other big buys included Taiwo Awoniyi (£17.5m from Union Berlin), Neco Williams (£17m from Liverpool) and Danilo (£16m from Palmeiras).

However, it was the signings of free agent Jesse Lingard (earning £80,000 basic a week before bonuses), Paris St-Germain goalkeeper Keylor Navas and a litany of players who never turned up that appeared to be calculated gambles, although expensive.

Keylor Navas played in goal for Nottingham Forest last seasonKeylor Navas played in goal for Nottingham Forest last season

Keylor Navas was one of Nottingham Forest’s signings with high salaries – AP/Rui Vieira

By contrast, Everton’s transfer deals in recent years have been relatively modest. The departure of James Rodríguez, who earned £250,000 a week, had been a huge relief to the wage bill when he left the club in the autumn of 2021. Over the following year, Richarlison was sold to Tottenham for around £50 million, Anthony Gordon fetched over £40m from Newcastle, but Amadou Onana, Dwight McNeil and Neal Maupay arrived for multi-million pound fees.

Vowing to fight the latest expenses charge, Everton added: “The Premier League has no guidelines preventing a club from being penalized for alleged breaches in financial periods that have already been subject to punishment, unlike other governing bodies including the EFL.

“As a result, and due to the Premier League’s new commitment to addressing these matters ‘in-season’, the club finds itself in a position where it has had no choice but to present a PSR calculation which remains subject to change. pending the outcome of the appeal… Everton can assure their fans that they will continue to defend their position during the ongoing appeal and, if necessary, at any future commission, and that the impact on supporters will be reflected in part of that process.”

Forest will say they were right to keep Brennan Johnson

Meanwhile, Forest have hired prominent sports lawyer Nick De Marco as they seek to avoid becoming the third top-flight club to be punished for alleged breaches after Everton and City.

Forest reported an annual loss of £45.6m in its latest accounts, but the Premier League deemed the club breached a £61m limit over three years and said: “Because Nottingham Forest spent two seasons in the Championship within three years During the assessment period, the maximum loss to the club is £61 million.”

In the previous year, which ended June 2021, they posted a loss of £34.4 million, reduced to a pre-tax loss of £15.5 million.

Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis: Nottingham Forest and Everton accused of spending breach in Premier LeagueNottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis: Nottingham Forest and Everton accused of spending breach in Premier League

Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis has spent more than £250m on players since his promotion in the summer of 2022 – Getty Images/Richard Heathcote

Johnson’s sale to Tottenham, as Telegraph Sport reported on January 2, will be a key step in mitigation. Johnson was sold for £47.5m on deadline day, a record sale for the club, and Forest will insist they would have received a much lower fee had they accepted an offer earlier in the summer. Brentford failed with two bids of £30m and £35m for the Wales international in June and July respectively.

Everton were handed the biggest punishment in Premier League history by an independent commission in December. They have appealed the decision to deduct 10 points, which will be heard and concluded before the end of the season.

Manchester City were charged in February with 115 alleged breaches and the case remains ongoing with the club strongly denying the charges. Chelsea are also being investigated after submitting evidence to the Premier League in relation to transfer deals reached during the Roman Abramovich era.

Forest are currently 15th in the Premier League, while Everton are one point and one place above the relegation zone.

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