The final day of the 2022/23 season saw Leicester City relegated, with Everton beating a lacklustre Bournemouth to retain their Premier League status. However, things are far from over with Leicester, Leeds, Southampton and Burnley set to file a lawsuit against the Toffees. FoL provide clarity on this situation and why LCFC are unjustifiably suing Everton.
Why are the Toffees in a sticky situation?
It is well-documented that Everton have been living dangerously for several years. Not only have they been in consecutive relegation battles, but they have also battled with financial problems. Thus, the basis for legal action lies in Everton’s alleged breaches of financial fair play. Whilst clubs can incur £105million losses over three years, Everton wasted £371.8m over this period, according to the Guardian.
In theory, this would result in a fine or a points deduction, but Everton claimed that the majority of the losses were the result of COVID-related losses, a special category that clubs could earmark losses against as a result of the pandemic. Nevertheless, Everton claimed that £170m was lost as a result of COVID. When comparing this to other clubs, such as Newcastle’s £40m, this figure seems absurdly high.
On this basis, one would suggest that Everton have used some very creative accounting. Swiss Ramble claim, even with Everton’s allowable deductions, they would still be (for their 2021/22 accounts) £70m over the allowed losses. Thus, it seems strange why the Premier League was happy for Everton to continue without any penalty.
One could argue that it is unfair the Merseysiders could keep spending for years when Leicester City were forced to suddenly reign back their own spending because of FFP restrictions. Nevertheless, LCFC were relegated based on their own performances, not because of Everton’s financial dishonesty. Therefore, this situation does not bear much similarity to Bournemouth’s case against Aston Villa, which was because of goal-line technology failure.
Overall, such a case seems like an attempt by LCFC and other relegated clubs to claw back losses as a result of their own failings. EFC’s own wrongdoing should be punished in its own right, but it does not hide the fact that City should never have been in this situation. The fact that LCFC and the other relegated clubs petitioned the league for action as early as March suggests a desperate attempt to take advantage of a convenient situation.
How would Leicester City benefit?
Unfortunately, the Premier League’s inability to expedite the case beyond October 25 means that a points deduction will not benefit Leicester City in terms of a direct sporting consequence.
Looking at how the Premier League has dealt with offenders in the past, a large fine would be expected with the potential for Everton to pay a sum of money to LCFC. This would be insignificant compared to the £100m plus cost of relegation.
What would probably be better news for Leicester City fans is the idea of vindication which would be sealed by Everton’s relegation. A large fine would likely impinge on their limited finances and thus their ability to improve their squad. A lack of investment, as showcased on Filbert Way, would therefore have disastrous consequences. As such, if the outfit were to get promoted, there would be a chance the two clubs swap divisions if EFC’s troubles continue. Perhaps then LCFC fans may feel that justice has finally been served.