Everton: When will FFP hearing and 777 Partners takeover uncertainties be resolved?

Everton are 16th in the Premier League table, five points above the relegation zone

Everton’s on-field fortunes look to be improving, but uncertainties off the pitch remain which, once resolved, could have a big impact on the club’s future.

The Toffees are awaiting the verdict from the independent hearing into alleged breaches of Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules and, though there is no set date for the decision, it could arrive in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the takeover of the club by 777 Partners continues to undergo the regulatory processes and sources say is on course to be completed by next month.

BBC Sport breaks down the current situation at Goodison Park.

What do we know about the hearing?

On 24 March, news broke that Everton had been referred to an independent commission by the Premier League over an alleged breach of FFP rules.

The club denied any wrongdoing and said they were “prepared to robustly defend” their position.

In their latest financial accounts published on 31 March, the club posted a deficit of £44.7m over 2021-22, taking their total losses over the past five years to £430m.

Clubs are permitted to lose £105m over a three-year period.

However, top-flight sides were allowed leeway on Covid-related losses when the two seasons played behind closed doors were merged as one, and Everton suggested the impact of the pandemic played a major part.

Their total losses include about £170m attributed to Covid, when the club saidexternal-link they could not bring in matchday revenue and there was an “inability to generate the level of transfer fees which could reasonably have been expected pre-pandemic”.

Is there a precedent for this case?

No club in Premier League history has been found guilty of breaching FFP rules.

Manchester City are the only other club to have been charged by the Premier League for financial breaches, when they were referred to an independent commission over more than 100 alleged rule breaches between 2009 and 2018.

City were charged in February and the case is ongoing.

One source said the closest comparison to Everton’s case is that of West Ham being found guilty in 2007 of breaking Premier League rules in relation to the transfers of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano.

The Irons avoided a points deduction, but were handed an English top-flight record fine of £5.5m and paid £20m to Sheffield United in an out-of-court settlement.

The Blades had claimed compensation for their relegation at the end of the 2006-07 campaign, when West Ham survived by three points.

In July 2022, Leeds and Burnley dropped the threat of legal action against Everton and the Premier League over the Toffees’ finances after being advised that the Blues had complied with profit and sustainability rules.

What don’t we know about the hearing?

The exact nature of the hearing has been private since news first broke earlier this year, but deliberations are under way after the evidence was heard.

Everton’s financial difficulty is well documented but the club are also building a new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock, costs of which have soared from £500m to £760m.

In June, The Timesexternal-link claimed the FFP charge was actually related to a tax issue surrounding loans for the new stadium.

The club are now awaiting their fate and it is understood the judgement will be passed to Everton’s lawyers, who will have 24 hours to deliberate, before it is published on the Premier League website.

What about potential sanctions?

The commission which is hearing the Everton charge and will rule on sanctions is independent of the Premier League and led by a King’s Counsel barrister, who appoints a three-person panel to consider the evidence from both parties.

If found guilty, there are a number of sanctions Everton could face.

Last month, The Telegraphexternal-link reported that the Premier League – effectively the ‘prosecutor’ in this case – wanted the punishment to be “extremely severe” and recommended a 12-point deduction, which BBC Sport understands would be the maximum points being docked.

They could also be handed a transfer embargo or fine, but any sanctions imposed may be suspended and it remains to be seen whether Everton accept or appeal against the final verdict.

The club have not formally commented on the hearing since their initial statement, including on media reports about the exact nature of the charge or potential sanctions.

The Blues escaped relegation on the final day of last season and are currently 16th in the Premier League table, five points clear of the drop zone.

What’s the latest on the takeover?

Josh Wander at Goodison Park
777 Partners co-owners Josh Wander (left) has been a regular at Goodison Park this season

On 15 September, owner Farhad Moshiri agreed to sell his 94% stake in Everton to American investment fund 777 Partners.

The process usually takes 12 weeks to complete and reports emergedexternal-link of possible delays because of the regulatory procedures, but sources have told BBC Sport the firm is currently on track to complete its takeover by the end of the year.

It is understood 777 has submitted all documentation that has been requested by the relevant authorities, including to the Premier League and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), while the Football Association (FA) also has to give the green light from their end.

Ultimately, the Premier League has the final say on the approval of the takeover once it has completed the owners’ and directors’ test.

BBC Sport understands 777 co-owners Josh Wander and Steven Pasko are likely to take seats in the Everton boardroom once the deal is ratified.

Wander has been in regular attendance at Goodison Park this season and watched Sean Dyche’s side being held to a 1-1 draw by Brighton on Saturday.

Sums for the deal have so far been undisclosed, but the purchase price could change depending on the verdict of the commission.

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