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Everton points deduction may see FSG finally get what they wanted when they bought Liverpool

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When Fenway Sports Group first came into English football back in October 2010 there was a significant amount of hope thrown behind the emergence of Financial Fair Play regulations helping them to deliver success without having to partake in the transfer market rat race.

The years before their arrival as owners of Liverpool had seen Manchester City start to put the wheels in motion to build their own footballing dynasty following the purchase of the club by the Sheikh Mansour, and before that there had been the relentless transfer spending of Roman Abramovich, whose time at Chelsea reshaped the landscape of English football forever.



Having taken over the Boston Red Sox in 2002, ending the Major League Baseball team’s 86-year long wait for a World Series in two years, repeating the trick again in 2007, the ownership group led by John Henry and Tom Werner had been enamoured with the idea of data analytics and finding the value others didn’t see to build a winning team and culture.



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The ‘Moneyball’ approach that was made so famous by Billy Beane at the Oakland Athletics, one that was turned into a Hollywood movie starring Brad Pitt as Beane, was an approach that chimed with FSG’s plans to be the smartest guys in the room.

Liverpool have shelled out huge sums of money on players, but in terms of their net spend, the marker that has taken on significance among ‘Football Twitter’ but doesn’t really show the true picture of investment in recruitment, the Reds have fallen short of their rivals in the last decade.

“You are right that there are ever-increasing financial challenges in the Premier League,” said Henry in an exclusive interview with the ECHO earlier this year.

“The league itself is extraordinarily successful and is the greatest football competition in the world, but we’ve thought for some time there should be limits on spending so that the league doesn’t go the way of European leagues where one or two clubs annually have little competition.

“Excitement depends on competition and is the most important component of the Premier League.”

Liverpool have won everything there is to win in club football under Klopp, at home and abroad.

Everton denied the allegations but after the commission sat and heard evidence last month, a ruling was handed down on Friday that the Toffees should be deducted 10 points after being found to be in breach.

A month before Everton’s charges, the Premier League hit Manchester City with a staggering 115 charges related to alleged financial breaches between 2009 and 2018.

The charges relate to financial information regarding revenue, details of manager and player remuneration, UEFA regulations, profitability and sustainability and co-operation with Premier League investigations.

An independent commission will also rule on that matter, although given the sheer volume of charges and complexity of the case, and the potentially huge ramifications that could arise from a guilty verdict, it is likely to be some time before the commission actually sits to hear the evidence.

This past week has seen Manchester City post record revenues of almost £713m, with commercial revenues up to £309m, a sum £62m higher than what Liverpool achieved commercially last season.

Such figures, against the backdrop of their 115 charges for alleged breaches, and with Everton’s heavy penalty for their single charge, have seen the storm clouds start to gather on the horizon, with Chelsea also adding to the rumblings in the distance.

Chelsea may yet find themselves referred to a regulatory commission after leaked documents as part of the ‘Cyprus Confidential’ project, which saw millions of confidential documents provided to investigative journalists, showed that various payments were made to Abramovich-owned companies during his time as owner that directly benefited the club.

The new owners contacted the Premier League, UEFA and the FA to highlight that there were concerns about missing financial information relating to transactions between 2012 and 2019, but that doesn’t mean that they will avoid a harsh punishment should they be found guilty of being in breach of financial regulations.

Already it has been reported that clubs impacted by Everton’s situation, namely those relegated during the time the breaches occurred; Burnley, Southampton, Leeds United and Leicester City, could have a case for compensation from the Toffees should they be able to prove causation.

But what it does suggest is that the landscape of the Premier League is set to change, and the kind of stricter enforcement of financial fair play regulations that FSG had hoped to see when they acquired Liverpool 13 years ago may not be starting to arrive.

The decision on Everton in terms of the severity of the penalty seemed harsh.
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