May 18, 2024

Comment: The Premier League is in a race against time to conclude Everton and Nottingham Forest’s punishments

Barely two weeks into the New Year and the issue that threatens to dominate the next 12 months of discourse around the Premier League is upon us.

Welcome to 2024: the year of the independent commission, the appeals process, the wrangling over legislation; when having a high-powered lawyer may be as crucial to success in the best league in the world as a 20-goal-a-season striker.

Everton and Nottingham Forest were on Monday charged with breaching the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules (PSR), raising all sorts of awkward questions and threatening the very integrity of the current campaign.

Without getting into the justness of the legislation itself here, the processes around it are a confusing mess and leave the entire division, not least Everton and Forest, facing uncertainty.

Can you imagine Luton celebrating survival, only to learn later they are relegated after Everton were successful in their appeal?

The Toffees have already been docked 10 points this season for breaching PSR in their previous accounting period — the club argues it is facing ‘double jeopardy’ by being punished twice for the same offence — but have appealed the original decision, a process which is not expected to be concluded until next month.

The fresh charge cannot be brought before an independent commission until that appeals process is done, leaving the Premier League in a race against time to conclude the situation before the end of the season, in line with new guidelines to ensure cases are dealt with in the same campaign in which the charge is issued.

It is not yet clear if Everton’s original points deduction will stand in full, be reduced or scrapped altogether. Even more bizarrely, the outcome of the latest charges against them and Forest may not even be resolved come the final day of the season, May 19. Should the two clubs appeal the commission’s ruling, the process must be concluded by May 24, raising the farcical scenario where the final League positions are determined after the end of the campaign.

Can you imagine, say, Luton celebrating survival, only to learn five days later that they are relegated after Everton or Forest were successful in their appeal?


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