April 13, 2024

Andy Burnham has been left unimpressed by the Premier League’s response to a letter he wrote after Everton were deducted 10 points a fortnight ago, with the Manchester mayor now raising more concerns

Pictured Mayor Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Andy Burnham has again written to the Premier League about Everton’s points deduction

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has sent another letter to the Premier League to again complain about Everton’s points deduction.

The Toffees were deducted 10 points a fortnight ago after an independent commission found them guilty of breaching profit and sustainability rules. That sparked fury from Everton fans and Burnham, who wrote a letter to the Premier League’s chair Alison Brittain.

Brittain responded to the Labour mayor with a letter of her own in an attempt to allay his concerns. But Burnham has now hit back at the Premier League chief, insisting her response has only raised more problems with the decision.

His letter began: “I can assure you it was not my intention to seek to engage you in protracted correspondence on this matter. I had hoped you would be able to provide me with enough reassurance to leave things there.

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“However, if anything having read your letter carefully, I am now more concerned about the Premier League’s handling of Everton’s case. Let me explain why. There is a particular sentence, which is highly problematic.

“It is this one: ‘The League’s submission contained a formula (as a means to explain how it reached its view on the appropriate sanction), however, it is not a ‘policy’ as you describe, or a framework’.

“This raises serious issues. Firstly, you say ‘policy’ was my description, in fact, this is how the Independent Commission chose to refer what was presented to it in Mr Masters’ witness statement (presumably because this was Mr Masters described it in his statement).

“In your letter to me, you claimed the PL’s position was different from that of the EFL. However, in its evidence to the commission, the PL said its approach was, in effect, the same as the EFL policy. I hope you can see the glaring inconsistency here.”

Everton have been left furious with the points deduction.

Burnham also raised the problem that many would struggle to find a distinction between a ‘formula’ and a ‘policy’. He then questioned if the same policy that led to Everton’s deduction would be used in all future cases.

He continued: “Your letter attempts to draw a distinction between a ‘formula’ and a ‘policy’. Most people would struggle to see the difference between these things. It is only position to see a difference if the formula was to be used in one case only.

“This begs two questions: 1. Is it your intention to use this ‘formula’ only in Everton’s case? If so, how does that inspire confidence that the Premier League is acting fairly nd consistently in respect of all clubs? 2. Or is it your intention to use the same ‘formula’ in other cases? If so, surely that breaches the decision taken by the clubs in 2020?

“It is clear to me, from the commission’s decision that it too saw an issue in what appeared to be the PL attempting to introduce a sanctioning policy ‘through the back door’.

The problem we are left with is this: the independent commission went on to adopt a very similar sanction as the one that would have been required under the PL’s formula without providing full reasoning for concluding that level of sanction to be appropriate.

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“If nothing else, this risks a perception of undue influence exerted by the PL on the commission. For the reasons I have outlined, I do not believe your letter in any way clears up concerns about abuse of process.”

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He concluded: “I also believe that this matter now concerns more than Everton. All Premier League clubs, and their supporters, have a right to know the detail of what was adopted on 10 August by the PL and how it was presented in Mr Masters’ submission.

“So, in the interests of transparency and fairness, I am asking two final questions: Will you publish the minutes of the Premier League Board of 10 August? Will you publish the full version of Mr Masters’ witness statement?”

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