Everton takeover: who is responsible for club’s fate as 777 decision nears

Once again the fate of Everton Football Club is in the hands of the Premier League as it rules on whether to approve 777 Partners’ proposed takeover of the club but just who will be making the decision?

 

Everton, the club who have spent the most seasons in the English top flight and are the only founder members of both the Football League in 1888 and Premier League in 1992 to be ever-presents in the latter,

 

were initially given a 10-point deduction in November, a decision that was reduced to six points on appeal by a separate panel last month – who cited “legal errors”

 

on two grounds with the original decision –before a third independent commission gave Nottingham Forest a four point deduction for a larger breach last Monday. Those who decided Forest’s fate admitted:

 

“The Commission does not know how the three extra points were arrived at by the Appeal Board for Everton, but some part of those three points must relate to the provision of incorrect information.”

 

Now another trio appointed from the Premier League’s independent Judicial Panel, which comprises of a number of legal, financial and other experts, will be appointed by its independent Chair,

 

Murray Rosen KC, an experienced barrister, to rule on Everton’s second PSR charge of the season being heard this week with the club looking to avoid

 

“double jeopardy” given that they say three-quarters of the time period being examined this time was covered in their original charge.

 

However, the Premier League also have another pivotal – some say even more important – task on their hands with Everton and that is whether to grant regulatory approval on the deal announced over six months ago for 777 to

 

acquire Farhad Moshiri’s entire 94.1% stake in the club. Bloomberg report they have seen the letter from the board of the Premier League to

 

the Miami-based private investment firm saying: “it is currently minded” to back the offer, subject to conditions.

 

A separate article by Josimar claims they have been told by multiple sources with sight of the Premier League’s official letter that the four main conditions are conversion of loans by 777 totalling just over £150 million into equity,

 

funds into an escrow account to keep the club going for the rest of the season, proof of funding to complete the new stadium, and repayment of MSP’s £158million stadium loan by mid-April.

 

The process also needs to be reviewed by an independent oversight committee before it can be granted final approval by the Premier League board but who are the personnel responsible for that crucial call?

 

The board currently comprises of a Chair, the Chief Executive and three independent Non-Executive Directors. Under the terms of the Premier League’s Articles of Association, the Board is empowered to (among other things):

 

Manage the affairs of the Premier League including its operation and administration and the implementation of the Premier League Rules.

 

Take such steps as it considers necessary to give effect to any policy resolved upon by clubs at a Shareholders’ Meeting.

 

Make recommendations and proposals to clubs on matters of importance to the Premier League (including changes to the Premier League Rules).

 

The Board has a wide range of roles and responsibilities under the Premier League Rules.

 

It is the entity responsible for resolving disputes in many cases, as well as the body responsible for prosecuting breaches of the Rules when they occur.

 

Where appropriate, in accordance with the Articles, the Board delegates authority to other groups or committees (such as the Premier League Football Board) to take decisions on its behalf.

 

The five figures who make up the board and thus deciding on whether to approve 777’s proposed takeover of Everton are as follows…

 

The 59-year-old, who grew up in Derbyshire and was educated at the University of Stirling, has been Chair of the Premier League since January 3, last year.

 

The Premier League say Alison is a highly versatile business leader and general manager, who brings considerable experience of operating in consumer-facing service environments.

 

She has over 25 years’ senior management experience in major financial institutions, most recently as Chief Executive and a Director of Whitbread PLC.

 

Alison was previously with Lloyds Banking Group (Group Director, Retail Division) and Santander UK PLC (Executive Director,

 

Retail Distribution), where she was also a board director, and served as a Non-Executive Board Director for Marks & Spencer Group PLC.

 

She previously held senior roles at Barclays Bank, has been a member of the UK Prime Minister’s Advisory Council,

 

was named ‘Business Woman of the Year 2017’ in the Veuve Clicquot awards and was awarded a CBE in the 2019 UK New Year Honours list.

 

Alongside her role as Chair of the Premier League, Alison holds Non-Executive Director positions at Dunelm and Experian.

 

Mayor of Greater Manchester and lifelong Evertonian Andy Burnham wrote to Premier League Chair Brittain on November 26 to register a formal complaint about the process that resulted in Everton’s 10-point deduction.

 

On November 29, the Premier League responded to tell the politician that his allegations of an “abuse of process” were wrong.

 

An article in the Daily Telegraph stated that Brittain had written to Burnham to address his points individually.

 

In response, Burnham then sent a second letter to Brittain in which he stated that he found a particular sentence, when read alongside the other statements he referenced, problematic:

 

“The League’s submission contained a formula (as means to explain how it reached its view on the appropriate sanction), however it is not a ‘policy’ as you describe, or a framework.”

 

Chief Executive: Richard Masters

 

Arguably the best-known member of the Board, and having faced widespread criticism from sections of the Everton fanbase since the start of the PSR saga,

 

he did little to endear himself to supporters of either the Blues or Nottingham Forest with his “small clubs” remark during a session of a CMS parliamentary select committee in January.

 

The 57-year-old, who went to the Independent Solhull School in the West Midlands, supposedly identifies as an Aston Villa supporter and studied for an Economics and Geography degree at University College London.

 

Masters was appointed Premier League Chief Executive in December 2019 having held the post on an interim basis for a year.

 

As reported by the BBC in 2019, Masters was the Premier League’s fourth choice for the role, following a protracted recruitment process that involved Susanna Dinnage,

 

Tim Davie and David Pemsel all being offered – but later declining – the position ahead of him

 

He joined the Premier League as Director of Sales and Marketing in 2006 and was later appointed its Managing Director in 2015.

 

The Premier League say as Chief Executive, Richard oversees all elements of their operations and commercial enterprises and is responsible for the continuing success of the world’s most-watched football league.

 

Masters chairs both the Premier League’s Broadcast and Strategic Advisory Groups, which enable the League, together with its clubs, to discuss strategic and growth opportunities,

 

as well as media rights strategies and proposals and he is also a member of the Premier League Charitable Fund.

 

Prior to joining the Premier League, Masters was Commercial Director at the EFL and before that held roles at the World Sports Group and the England and Wales Cricket Board.

 

Independent Non-Executive Director: Mai Fyfield

 

The 54-year-old read Economics at Cambridge, has a master’s degree in Economics from Tufts University in Massachusetts and was previously the Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer at Sky, responsible for leading strategy and Sky’s commercial partnerships across the group.

 

During almost 20 years at the network, the Premier League say she was a key player in the growth and diversification of the business and also led the bidding process for three Premier League rights terms.

 

Since leaving Sky, Fyfield sits on the boards of ASOS, BBC Commercial, Nationwide Building Society and Roku. Mai also chairs the Premier League’s Remuneration Committee.

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The Premier League say she is a champion of diversity and is passionate about helping women succeed in senior management and board positions.

 

Independent Non-Executive Director: Dharmash Mistry

 

The 53-year-old studied Engineering, Economics and Management at Oxford and is an experienced technology venture capitalist

 

(a private equity investor that provides capital to companies with high growth potential in exchange for an equity stake), entrepreneur and Non-Executive Director.

 

He started his career at Proctor & Gamble before moving to The Boston Consulting Group.

 

Mistry then spent eight years in media as Group Managing Director of EMAP Consumer Media and EMAP Performance, the consumer divisions of Emap PLC.

 

He subsequently co-led the delisting and sale of Emap PLC from the FTSE 100 in 2008.

 

Since 2008, Mistry has been a technology venture capitalist, as a Partner at Balderton Capital and subsequently setting up the London office of Lakestar and leading investments such as Revolut,

 

Glovo, Infarm, Blockchain.com and LoveFilm and co-founding Blow LTD, which was sold to Holland & Barret in 2021.

 

 

He was previously a Non-Executive Director at the BBC, British Business Bank, Hargreaves Lansdown PLC and Dixons PLC.

 

He currently sits on the Boards of Hamla plc and Rathbones plc while also chairing the Premier League’s Audit & Finance Committee and Nominations Committee.

 

Independent Non-Executive Director: Matthew Ryder KC

 

The 56-year-old grew up in London, the son of a Jamaican mother and English father.

 

He attended his local comprehensive before studying law at Cambridge University and Columbia University in New York.

 

Ryder, called to the bar in 1992 and a Silk since 2010, is a highly regarded senior barrister and part-time judge who has led teams in the

 

UK Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights. He has particular expertise in public law, criminal and regulatory law and data law.

 

In his three-decade career he has been involved in numerous well-known cases, has overseen inquiries by sports bodies,

 

and has provided advice both to tech companies and regulatory authorities such as the Information Commissioner.

 

He has been closely involved in a number of important reviews including the “Lammy Review” on racial bias in the criminal justice system and his own “Ryder Review” on the law and regulation of biometric data.

 

Between 2016 and 2018 he served as Deputy Mayor of London, leading on community engagement including overseeing sport in London and the Mayor’s use of data.

 

He is an experienced INED (Independent Non-Executive Director), sitting on the Board of the Guardian’s Scott Trust, and has previously been a board member of the University of the Arts and chaired the board of the Black Cultural Archive in London.

 

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