The Premier League has deducted 10 points from Everton following an investigation into a breach of profit and sustainability rules.
The Goodison Park club has said they are “shocked and disappointed” by the punishment and will appeal.
An official club statement read: “Both the harshness and severity of the sanction imposed by the Commission are neither a fair nor a reasonable reflection of the evidence submitted”.
The deduction is the largest in the history of the Premier League and takes immediate effect, plunging Sean Dyche’s team into the relegation zone.
Everton has been found guilty of submitting inaccurate financial information to the Premier League in relation to the years 2017 to 2020. The club has also been found to have breached a requirement to break even over a rolling three-year period.
The Premier League’s decision comes as a major blow to Everton, who are already struggling this season. They are currently 16th in the Premier League table, just two points above the relegation zone.
The club’s appeal against the deduction will be heard by an independent panel. If the appeal is successful, the points will be reinstated.
However, if the appeal is unsuccessful, the deduction will stand and Everton will be in a very difficult position.
The Premier League’s decision is a reminder of the importance of financial fair play in the English top flight. Clubs are required to operate within their means in order to prevent them from gaining an unfair advantage over their rivals.