The Premier League “would never recover” if they treated Manchester City differently from Everton after the 10-point punishment imposed on the club, say Chris Sutton.
The BBC Sport pundit said on It’s All Kicking Off on 20 November “that cannot happen” in regard to the league potentially wishing to shy away from taking on the all-conquering Etihad giants over the 115 outstanding charges which they deny.
Sutton said he believed there would be a “lot of sympathy” for the club’s fans in particular, but doesn’t feel the Toffees have been “singled out” yet with other cases still to be heard, but expects a “close eye” to be kept on the outcome of the City situation to see if a punishment is consistent as it has to be.
Sutton said (7m 45s): “City are going to defend those charges so it is a ‘wait and see’ on the face of things. I think that’s what Everton supporters have looked at. ‘We’ve had this charge, Manchester City have got 115, they must be bang in trouble.’ The same with Chelsea by all accounts.
“So that’s where the anger and the ire comes from with the Everton supporters and I understand that, let’s just wait and see what happens to Manchester City.”
When Ian Ladyman suggested the Premier League wouldn’t want to relegate their own champions Sutton replied: “But they can’t think like that. That cannot happen. I can’t believe you’re suggesting that…
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“You’re saying they’re going to treat Everton differently to Manchester City? That’s where Everton and Everton supporters will be keeping their eye on these 115 charges which Manchester City are facing and see how that pans out.
“But I do not believe that what you’re saying is possible. Everton cannot be treated differently. What sort of precedent would that set moving forward? The Premier League, they would never recover from that.
“If they treat somebody different to somebody else, as you’re suggesting is a possibility, that isn’t going to happen.”
Until there is an outcome to the Manchester City case it will remain the exact fear among Toffees fans, and likely many neutrals, that the club have been cracked down on as an easy target and the same won’t follow for the treble-winners.
But unless or until Pep Guardiola’s side are actually found against though they won’t be facing any punishment, and the scale of the alleged transgressions makes for an uncomfortable situation for many.
The Premier League should lose all legitimacy if they were to treat Everton differently to City, but there is already strong feeling that they went lightly on them and their Manchester rivals United, as well as Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal over the failed European Super League plot with just a combined £22million fine.
And with the prospect of even a hearing on Manchester City’s case thought to be some way off still it means there won’t be answers, satisfactory or not, for a long time.
Everton can’t escape the fact that there have been major problems at Goodison Park, and those running the club are open to plenty of criticism.
But the ruthlessness of the punishment has raised a lot of questions over the suitability, and with the timeframe for the City situation, and potentially others, indeterminate still it leaves the issue open-ended for the foreseeable future.