EVERTON and Nottingham Forest face minimum six-point deductions this season after being accused of breaching Premier League financial rules.
After weeks of speculation, League chiefs confirmed the two clubs had been hit with charges for breaking the Profitability and Sustainability Rules last term.
And it leaves both sides lined up to be hit with significant points deductions that will reset the relegation scrap and tip the pair of them into the heart of the scramble for survival.
A further six points, in addition to the initial penalty, would plunge the Toffees to 19th in the Prem table, just two points ahead of bottom-placed Sheffield United and five points away from a survival spot.
Forest would also drop down from 20 points and 15th into the third and final relegation place, two points adrift of Luton in 17th.
All 20 top-flight clubs had until December 31 to hand over their final accounts for the 2022-23 season.
New League regulations, introduced last summer, meant that today was the deadline for charges to be brought.
Prem rules allow clubs who spend three consecutive seasons in the top flight to make “permitted losses” – after income and expenditure are calculated – of £105m over that period.
Forest, who were in the Championship for the first two seasons being assessed, were restricted to losses of £61m.
The likelihood of a six-point deduction comes from the independent commission hearing that assessed Everton’s earlier case.
The written reasons of the three-man body showed that Prem chief executive Richard Masters, on behalf of the League, argued that the standard starting penalty for a “PSR” breach should be six points, with a further point deducted for each £5m in excess of the allowed limits.
While the commission opted to ignore that request and impose a penalty based on the evidence to hand, their final sentence almost exactly matched the Prem recommendation.
The new fast-track procedure allows both clubs 14 days to respond to the charges.
A hearing must be completed by April 8, allowing any punishment to be imposed before the end of the season.
Clubs can then appeal, with the verdict of a subsequent panel potentially coming after the season has finished but BEFORE next term’s top-flight 20 members are confirmed by their presence at the annual summer meeting in June, when each promoted club takes over the “share” of a relegated side.
Everton, as in the previous case, are likely to try to argue that their books have been wrongly assessed and that any punishment should be mitigated by the club’s efforts to stay within the rules.
Forest are understood to be arguing that Brennan Johnson’s £47.5m transfer to Spurs, completed on transfer deadline day on September 1, should be allowed into the 2022-23 accounts even though the football financial year ends on June 30.
The Welsh attacker made three Prem appearances for Forest this season before his switch to North London.
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