Farhad Moshiri facing millions being wiped off Everton sale

Everton fans are reeling from the points deduction
Everton fans are reeling from the points deduction - Carl Recine/Reuters

Farhad Moshiri is facing the prospect of hundreds of millions being wiped off his Everton sale to 777 Partners as the club’s 10-point deduction triggers lawsuits from rival clubs.

The Miami-based investment firm remains a committed buyer, having secured a host of liability clauses attached to a deal only worth £500 million if the crisis club avoids relegation. Telegraph Sport reported last month how the final price is “performance-related” under unusual circumstances in which payments are staggered over several years.

One source close to talks went further on Saturday by clarifying 777 has necessary protections to weather the “entire fallout” from the biggest sanction in Premier League history.

With Everton still reeling from Friday’s verdict, club lawyers are working on an appeal case to be tabled over the coming days or weeks. Telegraph Sport has also learned how they would fight potential £200 million-plus legal claims from the likes of Leeds United, Leicester City and Burnley.

Sean Dyche’s team dropped immediately from 14th in the table to second-bottom after the punishment was imposed by an independent commission.

The club is now in a race against time to fight to overturn the “wholly disproportionate and unjust sporting sanction” as the appeal must conclude before the end of the season.

A ruling from David Phillips KC in May agreed rival clubs, meanwhile, could apply for compensation. They have 28 days to pursue a claim but, with 777 protected from spending a penny on such litigation, British-Iranian businessman Moshiri would effectively have to foot the bill.

Unforeseen liability clauses similar to those secured by the incoming Everton owner were also struck by the Todd Boehly-led consortium that bought Chelsea last year. The Telegraph reported how the group secured an 11th hour £100 million discount on the £2.5 billion purchase after potential claims were flagged around Roman Abramovich’s funding.

The London club as well as Manchester City, still awaiting a hearing date after being hit with 115 charges, now watch events at Everton with some concern.

Recent allegations against Chelsea relate to a possible range of transfers, managerial appointments and associates of the club, including the deals for Eden Hazard, Willian, Samuel Eto’o and even the arrival of Antonio Conte, who won the Premier League at Chelsea in the 2016-17 season.

However, as Everton were hit with 10-point punishment, Gregory Ioannidis, an attorney at law and professor of Clinical Sports Law at Sheffield Hallam University, warned against drawing comparisons between clubs. “They have different considerations,” he added.

The Telegraph revealed a fortnight ago how the league were pushing for a 12-point deduction during hearings against Everton, claiming the club exceeded profit and sustainability spending rules by £19.5 million. Interest payable on loans to build their new ground at Bramley-Moore Dock were cited in a ruling claiming the club “submitted misleading information about the stadium financing costs”.

Bramley-Moore Dock -
The site of Everton's new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock - Getty Images/Christopher Furlong

Ioannidis, of sportslawexpert.org, believes Everton’s appeal will now be fought on “several potential grounds”.

“In terms of proportionality, Everton FC may argue that the application of relevant regulations and statutes of the relevant sport governing bodies may produce scenarios in which the result is neither just nor proportionate, as is the present one, depending on the evidence available,” he said. “It is a general principle of sports law that any sanction must be just and proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued by the regulator.”

Lawsuits by clubs who claim they have missed out on silverware or been relegated are a “difficult scenario for all these claimant football clubs,” Ioannidis added.

In response to inquiries from Telegraph Sport, 777 Partners said: “777 will not be making any comment on this matter while the EPL change of control process remains ongoing.”

The company has been embroiled in its own controversies since being founded by Josh Wander and Steven Pasko in 2015, including allegations of fraud, which the company denies.

In response, the company told Telegraph Sport: “777 has always strived to conduct its businesses in line with local laws and regulations. Where it has been suggested otherwise, we will defend our reputation vigorously by all legitimate means.”

A source close to the company added that “all cases cited have either been closed, dismissed or are being contested as baseless.”

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