Everton have been referred to an independent commission for an alleged breach of the Premier League’s financial fair play rules in relation to their spending last season.
The announcement follows an audit of all Premier League clubs’ financial records for the 2021-22 season, which had to be provided by the start of March this year.
Last year Burnley and Leeds wrote to the Premier League to question whether Everton had broken the rules after they recorded losses of £371.8m over the last three years.
Under Premier League rules, clubs are allowed to lose a maximum of £105m over three years – and clubs who break its profitability and sustainability rules can be fined or deducted points.
At the time of their joint letter, signed by the Leeds chief executive, Angus Kinnear, and the Burnley chairman, Alan Pace, both clubs were threatened with relegation – and both also indicated their right to make legal claims against the Premier League and Everton.
A Premier League statement on Friday confirmed that Everton had been referred to an independent commission that will rule on the case.
“In accordance with Premier League Rule W.82.1, the Premier League confirms that it has today referred an alleged breach of the League’s Profitability and Sustainability Rules by Everton Football Club to a Commission under Premier League Rule W.3.4,” it said. “The assessment period for which it is alleged that the Club is in breach is the period ending Season 2021/22.
“The proceedings before the Commission will, in accordance with Premier League Rule W.82, be confidential and heard in private. Under Premier League Rule W.82.2, the Commission’s final award will be published on the Premier League’s website. The League will be making no further comment until that time.”
An Everton statement said they were disappointed with the decision and that they are “prepared to robustly defend” their position to the commission.
“Everton Football Club is disappointed to hear of the Premier League’s decision to refer an allegation of a breach of Profit & Sustainability regulations to an independent commission for review,” it read.
“The club strongly contests the allegation of non-compliance and together with its independent team of experts is entirely confident that it remains compliant with all financial rules and regulations. Everton is prepared to robustly defend its position to the commission. The club has, over several years, provided information to the Premier League in an open and transparent manner and has consciously chosen to act with the utmost good faith at all times.”