Mayor of Greater Manchester Burnham accused the Premier League of "regulatory malpractice" for seeking to introduce a sanctions policy for Everton's case midway through the disciplinary process. Burnham also suggested the Premier League were using the club as "a pawn" by hitting them with a 10-point penalty for breaking strict spending rules in an effort to show an independent regulator is not required in football.
But Brittain has now written a detailed three-page letter to Burnham, while Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has also written to other MPs who have been in contact with him over the case. Brittain has addressed Burnham’s accusations and has hit back at his claims that the independent panel effectively made up the sanction as they went along.
She insists in the letter they do not have a set sanction in place for three reasons. Firstly, a rigid penalty would remove any of the decision maker’s discretion. Secondly, it would not allow for any mitigating circumstances to be taken into consideration. And thirdly, having no fixed sanction actually provided a greater threat.
It also points out that the 20 clubs were asked in 2020 whether they would prefer a set sanction for any club breaking the Premier League’s strict profit and sustainability rules. Everton were among those who resisted it.
The Premier League did bring in a set sanction of 30 points to punish any club which threatens to breakaway after the European Super League fiasco.
Brittain insists that Everton ignored clear warnings over their spending, the club admitted breaches of the PSR and the proper judicial process was followed throughout the investigation and also by the independent panel which dished out the penalty.
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Burnham accused the Premier League of coming up with the ten point penalty midway through the process with the suggestion the panel had asked the Premier League and Everton what both parties thought would be an appropriate punishment.
However, Brittain has stressed that is customary in such cases that both parties are asked for a view on possible sanctions. The independent panel did ignore both recommendations to impose a 10-point penalty.
The letter also rejects suggestions that the Premier League got tough on Everton to flex their muscles because they do not want a government-appointed independent regulator. Burnham did write the letter insisting it was done as an Everton season ticket holder rather than as a politician, especially as the club is out of his area.
It has also been claimed that Sky Sports pulled an interview with Burnham ahead of Everton's game with Manchester United on Sunday. Sky have insisted they have presented a balanced view from both sides throughout, while the Premier League have said they have not requested any interview to be pulled.
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