After a demoralising 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa on Saturday night, prospects for Everton of getting into Europe next season seem slim indeed.
However, there is a possibility of Premier League punishments for the Super League six giving Everton a European place by the backdoor.
Punishments for the clubs involved in this awful idea has been on the backburner since the whole fiasco over the proposed European Super League came to an end a week ago.
So far there isn’t any clear idea about what if anything UEFA and the Premier League will actually do to punish the six English and other European clubs who attempted the breakaway.
Punishments might include European competition bans, domestic league points deductions and potentially financial penalties as well.
Italy’s Serie A has led the way with a new rule introduced that would ban any club from the Italian league competition if they attempted to do this again.
My own view would be a similar reiterated commitment to a league ban, (which is actually available under existing Premier League rules), something like a two-year European ban and a significant points deduction for these clubs.
It might be the cynic in me but I’m not convinced anything substantial will happen to the English clubs given the usually craven way the FA and Premier League treat the so-called ‘big clubs’. And recent word-salad Premier League statements don’t give much hope anything will happen.
But I hope I’m proved wrong because if the football authorities do nothing it will set a very corosive precedent and create further annimosity between those six clubs and many of the other fourteen, and potentially their supporters as well.
It’ seems as though Everton are determined to pursue this and I hope they don’t let up on seeking to ensure that the other fourteen stick together and that there are punishments for the six clubs.
This is not for the sake of being vindictive but it is to make a critical point and set a precedent that such behaviour must and will have real consequences for any clubs involved.
Lets just review what happened. The six English clubs together with six other European clubs conspired among themselves behind the backs of their rivals to set up a closed shop from which they couldn’t be relegated. And they attempted to ensure they had a massive financial advantage over all the other clubs, something they have actually already enjoyed for years.
This approach was fundamentally anti-competitive and would have cemented in place the priviledged position of those clubs in relation to everyone else.
It would also have allowed these clubs to bypass the FFP rules, which in theory at least, prevent clubs spending above a certain ceiling based on their income.
The twelve clubs would have a pot of around £300 million a year extra to spend which would have hugely distorted their domestic leagues as they would have money unavailable to the other clubs. This would have basically destroyed the competitivness of these leagues.
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Predictably, there have been calls over the last seven days or so not to harm the fans of these clubs by punishing them in any significant way for the behaviour of their owners and executives.
This though doesn’t wash as when clubs fall into adminstration they get docked points which often leads to them being relegated and that certainly impacts on their fans who had nothing to do with the decisions or incompetence of their club’s boards.
Although the Super League idea isn’t the same, it’s actually even more reprehensible than simply accounting failings or incompetent financial management.
And Blues fans have plenty of experience of arguably unfair treatment over something they had nothing to do with when the Toffees, along with all other English clubs, were banned from Europe for five years after the Heysel disaster.
Again, obviously the situation is not exactly the same, the Heysel disaster was far more serious and I’m not trying to argue they are not equivilent circumstances.
However, the Everton board, manager, players and fans had nothing to do with what happened on that terrible evening and had an exemplary fan record in Europe, as they had shown just two weeks before in the ECWC Final, but still got hit with the same punishment as Liverpool.
We will see what happens but something like a points deduction for those clubs and/or a Champions League/Europa League ban might give Everton European football. That’s something frankly they probably don’t deserve looking at perfomances and results, but we’ll still take it!