Nottingham Forest points deduction: PSR rules have created ‘a real mess’, says ex-chief Paul Faulkner

Nottingham Forest points deduction: PSR rules have created ‘a real mess’, says ex-chief Paul Faulkner

19 March 2024 0 By Total Football News

Profit and sustainability rules have “created chaos” and “damaged” the Premier League, says former Nottingham Forest chief executive Paul Faulkner.

An independent commission found Forest’s losses to 2022-23 breached the threshold of £61m by £34.5m.

Forest, who say they are “dismayed” by the ruling, are expected to appeal, with any decision needing to be finalised by 24 May, five days after the end of the Premier League season.

Forest thanked the commission for speeding up the process and are ahead of schedule in terms of the end-of-season deadline.

Everton’s initial 10-point deduction for breaching PSR rules was reduced to six on appeal, but their second case is still to be heard.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s Forest side are now one point adrift of Luton Town and the battle to avoid the drop could be settled off the pitch, much to Faulkner’s frustration.

“It’s not clear to anyone who follows football, fans and the clubs themselves and it ends up creating that chaos around it,” said Faulkner, who worked at the City Ground in 2014-15.

“Luton could invade the pitch, celebrate staying up, people have one of the greatest days of their lives and five days later get told ‘Sorry, you’re relegated’. It damages the competition.

“We might have to wait days after a season finishes. It’s like waiting for VAR. They have got themselves into a real mess, which is a shame.”

The commission completed the Forest process within the initial 12-week timeframe, which was designed to ensure the charge is dealt with swiftly and any punishment is applied within the existing season, while any appeal could possibly be wrapped up before the 24 May deadline.

The Premier League initially suggested Forest should be docked eight points, with a reduction to six after mitigation, and offered two possible calculations for this deduction.

Firstly, that Everton were ultimately docked three more points on top of the minimum three-point deduction for a £19.5m breach. Since Forest’s breach was 77% larger, multiply three by 1.77 to 5.31 – an additional five-point penalty.

Graphic showing the bottom six Premier League teams and how Nottingham Forest's six-point deduction has put them in the relegation zone below Luton
*Both Forest (4) and Everton (6) have now been deducted points this season – pending a Forest appeal and a further Everton case to be heard

Alternatively, given the appeal board may have penalised Everton one point for every £6.5m over the threshold, then using the same calculation for Forest would result in an extra five-point deduction.

Faulkner added: “Surely there has to be a better way – it cannot be so hard to understand and fathom. If there are breaches, here is the bracket for the points deduction. It feels unsatisfactory.”

Forest have signed 42 players since promotion in 2022, spending a reported £250m, as they looked to compete in the top flight after 23 years away.

They stayed up by four points in 2022-23, having signed 22 players that first summer – a British record for one transfer window.

While he was Aston Villa chief executive, Faulkner and the club voted against PSR and he feels it has moved away from why it was initially introduced.

He said: “We voted against the rules because we felt it would discourage future investment in clubs.

“If you have that money why shouldn’t you be able to do that, as opposed to being told you can’t after what’s happened in the two previous years?

“If Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis didn’t spend, the club wouldn’t have stayed up. Is what Forest did wrong?”

Forest issued a strong statement saying they were “extremely disappointed” with the decision and felt they had been penalised for trying to be competitive in the Premier League.

The club’s defence was centred around when they sold Brennan Johnson, having rejected bids from Atletico Madrid and Brentford, before the striker joined Tottenham on 1 September, after the accounting deadline.

Clubs agreed to bring forward the date to submit their accounts and top-flight sides also turned down the opportunity to have a fixed sanction process in 2020.

The Premier League handbook states PSR rules are designed to try to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of clubs and maintain the competitive nature of the league by preventing clubs from deriving an “unfair advantage” over rivals by “increasing revenues or reducing costs via arrangements with entities linked to a club’s ownership”.

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