Although Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s powerful head from Demarai Gray’s free kick secured Everton’s remarkable 3-2 victory against Crystal Palace, it was just the beginning of another fight.
Merseyside club had barely time to think about another season in England’s top flight when it was revealed that Burnley and Leeds United, two sides that were threatening to lose their victory, were planning an off field response to the events at Goodison Park.
Since then, reports have suggested that the couple has decided to write to Premier
League asked Everton to erase any communication or data relating to their commercial sponsorship or transfer business. This request was made before the Toffees were safe.
This letter was based upon the suggestion that Everton may have violated Financial Fair Play rules by losing $469 million in the last three years.
Independent investigation of the financial records of Liverpool-based Leeds United is required to determine definitively if they have Burnley or Leeds United.
Premier League rules allow clubs losses of $132 millions over three years, with special dispensation allowed for Covid-19-related loss.
Everton claims that the pandemic caused it take a $214million hit, and reports that another $60 could be written off.
These numbers have caused concern because clubs in similar positions to Newcastle United and Aston Villa have posted Covid losses of approximately $60 million.
Toffees replied to the news about the club’s letters with its complete confidence that it was within regulations.
“If they wish to take legal action, they can do so by any means,” an Everton spokesperson was quoted as saying in the press.
“We have worked closely with the Premier League in order to ensure compliance, and we feel confident that we have adhered to the rules.
“External auditors have shown us what we can and can’t claim against the pandemic.”
Everton’s Covid-19 description is dominated by player valuation.
The club’s most recent accounts state that it was unable to generate material profits from player trading. This also results in significant wage amortization savings because players are no longer contracted to the club.
It is essentially saying that the club is not being able to recover substantial amounts on the players it wants to sell because of the weak transfer market.
Soccer club accounting is especially important because player sales can be recorded as profit immediately. This can help in swinging the results from red to green.
Clubs must pay a significant amount if they can’t transfer players. This includes their wages and transfer fees.
Problem is that a player’s transfer value can be subjective. Many people have noted that Cenk Tosun, a player who was signed for $31million, but has not impressed in a series loan moves to other Premier League teams, is unlikely to be able to command a significant fee to propel the club towards the black, even in a strong market.
Now that Burnley is no longer in power, the question remains: Will they continue to use lawyers for these discussions?
Tevez: A lesson from history
There isn’t much history of relegation battles going from the field to court. One exception is the West Ham United-Sheffield United dispute over Carlos Tevez.
The Argentine’s role in the Hammers’ survival in 2006/07 of the Premier League was the catalyst for the legal battle.
After initially struggling to assert himself in English soccer, Tevez made a shock move to West Ham in august 2006 and became the Hammers’ talisman, helping them avoid relegation.
In the 10 final games of the season, the Argentine scored seven goals to push West Ham up on points. Sheffield United was relegated by the Blades due to goal difference.
It was later discovered that Tevez’s deal to purchase Tevez had violated third-party ownership rules. Premier League investigators found that the east Londoners were fined but not penalized.
Sheffield United decided to sue West Ham for its loss of Premier League relegation, after initially trying to appeal the decision.
This was a successful route. Two years later, West Ham paid compensationestimated to be in excess of $25 million to Sheffield United in order to end the dispute.
The key difference between this case, and any possible legal claim against Everton (most likely by the now relegated Burnley), is that the Tevez rule-breaking was clearly defined and the Premier League had ruled it so.
Everton has not been sanctioned and the club claims it has worked closely to comply with the governing body.
Both clubs would need to believe they could find evidence that Everton’s accounting was not justified, which seems a very long shot at this point.
It is possible that Burnley and Leeds United were watching the incoming independent regulator of English soccer. This body has financial fair play as its key principle.
The major question regarding the new body is its ability to be involved in such disputes.
It is better to get involved than for clubs to take each other to court. This devalues competition and can lead to an ugly sideshow.