Everton’s ability to continue as a going concern would be plunged into doubt in the event of relegation from the Premier League, the club’s latest set of accounts have revealed.
The bleak assessment, contained in the Everton directors’ report and from the auditor Crowe UK LLP, came on Friday when the club announced losses of £44.7m for the 2021-22 season. The loss is a significant reduction on the previous year’s figure of £120.9m but arrived in a year when Everton made a £67.7m profit on player trading. Richarlison, Lucas Digne and James Rodríguez were among the sales that year.
Overall, Everton’s combined losses for the past three financial years stand at £305.5m. A club that are immersed in a second successive battle against relegation and have been referred to an independent commission over an alleged breach of Premier League financial fair play rules has lost a staggering £417.3m over the past four years.
Sean Dyche’s team are two points above the relegation zone having played more games than four of the teams below them. In the event of demotion to the Championship, the auditor’s report states: “A material uncertainty exists that may cast significant doubt over the group’s ability to continue as a going concern.”
Everton’s accounting notes add: “The club remains reliant on the support of its majority shareholder [Farhad Moshiri], who has provided a letter of support to the board confirming the intention to provide ongoing financial support for a period of no less than 12 months from the date of approval of the financial statements but this does not represent a legally binding commitment by the majority shareholder.
“The board are confident that if the club is relegated funding will be secured or refinanced and that they will be able to achieve the levels of revenue and savings to allow the group to continue in operational existence for a period of 12 months after the date of signing these financial statements. However, whilst the directors acknowledge these uncertainties may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, they still feel it is appropriate to prepare the financial statements on a going concern basis.”
The accounts reveal Everton are in advanced negotiations to secure the next stage of funding for their new stadium at Bramley Moore dock and that heads of terms have been agreed on a deal that is expected to be concluded within months. However, the accounts also disclose: “In a relegation scenario, the club would review its costs base, trading strategy and defer other planned discretionary expenditure in the short term to offset any likely reductions in revenue.”
Everton’s net debt has risen to £141.7m due to investment in the playing squad plus the new stadium. Turnover stood at £181m in a year when Everton suspended all commercial activities with companies connected to the oligarch Alisher Usmanov after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The cost of paying off the former manager Rafael Benítez and his coaching staff after less than seven months in charge was £10.5m. Everton have also disclosed that, since the 2021-22 accounting period ended, Moshiri has provided a further £70m of financial support.
Premier League rules allow clubs to lose a maximum of £105m over a three-year period and Everton have been referred to an independent commission for an alleged breach during the 2021-22 season. Everton, who have worked closely with the Premier League on their financial dealings and attribute £90.4m of crystallised losses to the Covid-19 pandemic, deny the allegation.