The biggest points deductions in football history
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The biggest points deductions in football history

Everton have received a record Premier League points deduction after being found to have breached financial rules on profit and sustainability.

According to an independent commission, the Toffees lost £124.5m in the three years ending in 2021/22, which is £19.5m over the permitted amount of £105m.

The 10-point penalty – the largest in English top-flight history – has seen Sean Dyche’s side drop into the relegation zone, above only Burnley on goal difference, although the club says it will appeal.

We have taken a look at the biggest points deductions in football history and assessed Everton’s chances of remaining in the Premier League beyond this season.

How many top flight clubs have been docked points?

Everton are just the sixth team in the history of the English top flight to receive a points deduction.

Two of the previous five were in the Premier League era, with Portsmouth having been docked nine points for entering administration in 2009/10 and Middlesbrough having sacrificed three points for failing to fulfil a fixture against Blackburn in 1996/97.

Both sides went on to be relegated, having received notice of their deduction with eight and 16 games to go respectively.

With 26 matches remaining in 2023/24, it remains to be seen whether Everton can engineer an escape over a longer period.

Sunderland, Arsenal and Manchester United are the other clubs to have received a points penalty during a top-flight season.

Arsenal (two) and United (one) had points chalked off after their players were involved in a brawl at Old Trafford in October 1990.

The sanctions had little impact, however, with the Gunners going on to win the title by seven points while United finished sixth.

They were the first points penalties of any kind in the top tier since 1890/91.

On that occasion, Sunderland lost out on two points after fielding an ineligible player in debutant goalkeeper Ned Doig, who went on to make more than 450 appearances for the club.

What are the biggest points deductions in football history?

While points deductions are relatively rare in the Premier League, they are far from unheard of across the rest of the English football pyramid.

Luton fans can surely sympathise with Evertonians considering their record 30-point penalty in 2008/09, which led to them spending the next five seasons outside the Football League.

The Hatters were one of three League Two clubs to fall foul of insolvency rules in 2008, with Rotherham and Bournemouth also taking 17-point hits for financial misdemeanours.

Leeds missed out on promotion from League One in the previous season for a similar offence, with their 15-point sanction proving the difference between second and fifth place.

Meanwhile, ex-Toffees’ player Wayne Rooney can relate to his former club’s plight, following his time as Derby manager during which the Rams were relegated from the Championship after being docked 21 points.

Despite the size of these penalties imposed by the EFL, the most severe sanctions in football history have come in Italy’s Serie A.

In July 2006, AC Milan, Fiorentina and Lazio each had 30 points retrospectively removed from their 2005/06 season totals because of their involvement in the Calciopoli scandal.

All three clubs were found guilty of enticing officials to give them favourable decisions prior to games.

The harshest punishment was reserved for Juventus, however, who finished 15 points clear as title winners before being placed at the bottom of the table and relegated to Serie B.

The next largest points deduction in Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues was imposed on German side Arminia Bielefeld in 1971/72.

The Bundesliga club saw all of their 19 points deducted at the end of the campaign following accusations of bribery – an identical fate to the one suffered by 18-point Genoa in 1959/60.

What impact would it have had in Everton’s previous seasons?

Everton are one of six clubs to have been ever-present in the Premier League era, alongside Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham.

That said, the Toffees have often flirted with the drop and would have been relegated on 11 separate occasions since 1992/93 had they received a 10-point deduction.

Nine of those relegation battles came in the first 13 Premier League seasons, after which the Merseysiders enjoyed a period of stability under David Moyes and his immediate successors.

However, the club has increasingly struggled in recent years, with the last two campaigns seeing them narrowly avoid relegation in the final weeks of the season.

What does it mean for Everton’s survival hopes?

Dyche’s men have undoubtedly made improvements this term and were sitting in the relative comfort of 14th place before the points penalty was imposed.

The Toffees have won three of their past five Premier League games and have impressed throughout much of the campaign so far, particularly in attack where previously they have been found wanting.

Everton have created enough chances to score 18 times in their first 12 matches, according to expected data, while conceding opportunities that would normally result in 16 goals.

Their expected goal difference of +2.1 is better than 11 teams including Tottenham (+0.6) and Manchester United (-1.3).

Therefore, Dyche’s side would appear to have a strong chance of avoiding relegation regardless of whether their 10-point deduction stands, particularly given the relative weakness of the teams around them.

The promoted trio of Luton (-11.8), Burnley (-12.1) and Sheffield United (-16.5) are all in the bottom three for expected goal difference and have mustered just three wins and 15 points between them in 12 games.

Their aggregate tally at this stage is the comfortable the lowest by any group of teams promoted to the Premier League.

The previous nadir was 26 by Derby, Sunderland and Birmingham in 2007/08 – the season in which the Rams finished on 11 points and set a record for the lowest total in Premier League history.

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