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When Premier League CEO Richard Masters and EFL chairman Rick Parry appeared today before Parliament’s cross-party Culture, Media and Sport Committee, there was an Everton fan sitting behind them that it was impossible to ignore.
Julie Clarke, the secretary of Everton's Fan Advisory Board, appeared on all the cameras in an Everton t-shirt, just a day after the club were hit with yet more charges from the league regarding profitability and sustainability rules.
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With the Toffees' brand-new financial fair play charges still fresh in the minds of everyone associated with the club, Masters was grilled in parliament regarding finances in the Premier League and the potential of an independent regulator being utilised to prevent future controversies.
At one stage during his quizzing, Masters' attention was turned towards the Premier League's profitability and sustainability rules, at which point, the camera swiftly panned to the excellently placed Clarke, who was set almost directly behind the executive – proudly wearing Everton attire.
“It just looks very fishy”
Premier League CEO Richard Masters asked by @RupaHuq about what she calls “far from transparent” criteria which saw Everton FC docked 10 points.
Masters says “the rules are clear” & defends sanctions being at discretion of ind commission ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/wz1tHLFkI9
— Dan Roan (@danroan) January 16, 2024
Her attendance at the meeting was met with an overwhelmingly positive reaction by many Evertonians on social media, with much of the fanbase lauding Clarke and thanking her for making the club's presence felt by the Premier League.
What charges are Everton facing?
Similarly to the club's previous debacle, which saw the Toffees blasted with a 10-point points deduction, they have once again been charged in relation to the league's financial fair play rules. More specifically, Everton's charges are related to shortcomings regarding profitability and sustainability.
In essence, these rules are in place to ensure clubs exist within their means and only spend money that they generate through revenue. With that being said, the Premier League does also provide a buffer within those rules – all clubs can record losses of up to £105 million within a rolling 3-year period and face no charges for doing so.
The issue for Everton is that as a result of those losses being based on a 3-year rolling period, they have once again been punished for two of the years already included in their previous charge. Therefore, many Everton fans feel as though a second punishment – for what is effectively the same offence – is overkill and not in the best interest of football.
They are also feeling aggrieved that Manchester City were charged with 115 breaches of the Premier League's financial rules 49 weeks ago, and that case has still not reached any conclusion.
What's next for Everton?
As with their first charge, Everton have once again appealed the verdict made by the Premier League, and an independent commission will decide if and what punishment the club receives in the near future. Should they come to a similar decision as they did last time out, this could see Everton hit with another, and this time potentially catastrophic points deduction.
However, there is a caveat this time round. The Toffees are currently awaiting an outcome for the appeal they made regarding their first punishment, and it is widely believed that the outcome of that appeal will heavily influence the conclusion the independent commission arrives at for their most recent charge.
If their initial points deduction is revoked, then it is very well possible that their second punishment will be far less harsh, or potentially waived altogether.