Everton have been handed the biggest sporting sanction in Premier League history for breaching the competition's financial rules, with a deduction of 10 points dropping them into the relegation zone and threatening their 70-year status in the top division.
The club was found by an independent commission to have made a loss of Stg 124.5 million ($A239 million) pounds over three years up to the end of the 2021-22 season.
The league's profit and financial sustainability rules allow clubs to lose a maximum of Stg 105 million ($A201 million) over a three-year period or face sanctions.
The punishment means Everton fall from 14 points to four with immediate effect. They're now on the same number of points as last-placed Burnley, only with a superior goal difference.
Everton said they were "shocked and disappointed" by the ruling and will be appealing.
"The club believes that the commission has imposed a wholly disproportionate and unjust sporting sanction," Everton said.
Everton, one of England's most storied teams as nine-time top-flight champions and a top-division club since 1954, said they would be monitoring "with great interest" decisions made in other cases concerning the league's financial rules.
Both Manchester City and, reportedly, Chelsea have been accused by the league of various breaches of regulations.
City, defending English and European champions, were accused by the league in February of providing misleading information about their finances from 2009-18, covering 115 alleged breaches.
Two clubs -- Middlesbrough and Portsmouth -- have received points deductions in the Premier League since the competition's inaugural season in 1992 and they both wound up getting relegated.
The Everton case could run and run.
The five rival teams who made a complaint against Everton for alleged bending of financial rules -- Leeds, Nottingham Forest, Southampton, Leicester and Burnley -- were notified in May that if it was upheld, they would have 28 days to inform the commission they wished to pursue a claim of compensation.
The independent commission says the club's overspending was "the result of Everton irresponsibly taking a chance that things would turn out positively."
"The reality is that Everton failed to manage its finances so as to operate within the generous threshold" of $130 million, said the commission.
Everton's majority owner is British-Iranian billionaire Farhad Moshiri, a business partner of Russian metals tycoon Alisher Usmanov.
Moshiri bought Everton in 2016 but has been looking to sell the club in recent months.
The commission said Moshiri came to Everton "with great aspirations" and "wanted to transform the club into one of the top teams in the Premier League, regularly playing in Europe."
Moshiri wanted to build a new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock --due to open for the start of the 2025-26 season -- and those joint ambitions were described by interim CEO James Maryniak as a "challenging plan," the commission said.
Moshiri, the commission said, has invested around Stg 750 million ($930 million) at Everton, with his wealth a factor in the commission's decision to punish the club with a sporting sanction rather than a financial one.
"A financial penalty for a club that enjoys the support of a wealthy owner is not a sufficient penalty," it said.
Australian Associated Press