The Mayor of Liverpool has sent a letter of protest to the Premier League over what he called the “wholly disproportionate” record 10-point penalty imposed on Everton last week for breaching financial rules.
Steve Rotherham told top flight chief executive Richard Masters it was “frankly ludicrous” that Everton had suffered the same punishment that Portsmouth received for going into administration for a second time in 2012.
Everton have vowed to appeal the decision, which plunged them into the relegation zone, and Rotherham urged the Premier League to consider applying alternative sanctions that did not hurt players and fans.
“I am writing to express my deep concern and opposition to today’s decision by the Premier League Panel to deduct 10 points from Everton Football Club. The sanction imposed is not only an unprecedented but a wholly disproportionate one too,” he wrote.
“While I understand, and indeed support, the importance of maintaining discipline and upholding the integrity of the sport, it is crucial to ensure that any punitive measures are proportionate and just. I do not believe that this punishment fits the crime.”
Everton’s points deduction is the biggest ever issued to a Premier League team and was handed down by an independent commission on Friday.
The Toffees were found to have exceeded the permitted loss limit of £105m over three years by £19.5m, even allowing for some mitigation related to the pandemic.
It could yet get worse for the club, with a handful of relegated rivals threatening to sue, potentially triggering administration and a further eight-point deduction.
The move has raised expectations about the level of punishment that could befall Manchester CIty and Chelsea if they are found guilty of more serious alleged rule breaches.
Citing the example of Portsmouth, whose 10-point deduction came when they had fallen into the Championship, the mayor added: “As many people have pointed out, the punishment imposed is excessive for the charge in question but also when compared with sanctions handed to other clubs for financial infringements. The implication that Everton’s actions are somehow on a similar level of severity is, frankly, ludicrous.
“I completely support the club’s appeal and would urge you to take a more lenient approach and consider alternative forms of punishment that do not unfairly penalize the club’s players and supporters.
“As a founding member of both the Football League and Premier League, Everton are an important part of the fabric of English football. They deserve to be treated fairly, justly and with respect.”