The Premier League have accused Manchester City of breaching financial rules over 100 times between the years of 2009 and 2018, following a four-year investigation.
Manchester City released a club statement, saying that they are, “surprised by the issuing of these alleged breaches of the Premier League Rules, particularly given the extensive engagement and vast amount of detailed materials that the EPL has been provided with.”
Manchester City also “look forward to this matter being put to rest once and for all.”
The Citizens won a lot of silverware during the time that they have been accused of breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) – including three Premier League titles – so this will be taken very seriously.
This is just 4 years after UEFA opened a case about Manchester City breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules. In February 2020, they were punished with a £30m fine and a two-year ban from European competitions, but the ban was reversed and the fine reduced to £10m after too much time had passed since the accusations were made.
Worryingly for Manchester City fans, the Premier League doesn’t have a time limit, so they will have to escape this case in different fashion.
What are the charges?
The Citizens have been charged over 100 times by the Premier League, but here are the specifics:
- Inaccuracy of Financial Information (50)
- Manager Remuneration (8)
- Profitability and Sustainability (25)
- Assisting Premier League Investigations (30)
What will their punishment be?
There are many numerous ways that Manchester City can be punished for their actions if they happen to be true. The most drastic punishments would be points deductions, relegation, or them being stripped of honours and titles.
Juventus got found guilty of breaching FFP regulations and they suffered a deduction of 15 points at the start of the current season.
Relegation would be a massive statement. Manchester City would be in trouble if this happened, as their fanbase, costs, and most of their players and manager would leave.
In addition to this, the EFL have openly said that they would not accept Manchester City into the Championship, League 1 or League 2, which would see them relegated to the National League or potentially increase the chances of a European Super League.
This is drastic and probably unlikely, as Manchester City bring great content to the Premier League and make them a lot of money, and the Premier League don’t want to risk losing any profits or teams to a European Super League.
If the Citizens are stripped of their titles, Manchester United and Liverpool fan would be happy. The Red Devils would pick up three Premier League titles for themselves, as would their most recent rivals, Liverpool.
Other routes that the Premier League could take are suspending them from playing matches or replaying matches, but these seem unlikely.
The most predictable outcome is most likely to be hefty fines, repayments, or refusing to register new signings. These could very well come along with points deductions or bans.
What are rival clubs saying?
The other Premier League clubs have made it very clear that if Manchester City are found guilty of this, they would want them relegated or banned from the Premier League.
The cheating that they have experienced would have resulted in clubs missing out on trophies, European football, which filters down losing out on prize money, which results in less signings, which filters down to shirt sales and continued success.
Many clubs are pressing for relegation, but Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham are the clubs demanding action the most.
It is also reported that these clubs don’t think the stripping of titles would make sense, as it is confusing, and they wouldn’t get the joy of winning it like they would in the current moment. They also believe that a fine wouldn’t affect a club as wealthy as Manchester City.
Will Pep Guardiola leave?
Pep Guardiola has spoken out before on the fact that Manchester City could have breached financial rules. He backed the club he manages to be telling the truth and has stated that if they have broken the rules, he will leave: "Why did I defend the club and the people? It's because I work with them.
"When they are accused of something I ask them, 'tell me about that', they explain, and I believe them.
“I said to them 'if you lie to me, the day after I am not here'. I will be out, and you will not be my friend anymore.
"I put my faith in you because I believe you 100 per cent from day one."
How long will the case take?
This will most likely take longer than this season to get to the bottom of, so there will be nothing that effects the title race between Arsenal and Manchester City this year. The case has already gone on for four years behind closed doors.
Will the case be behind closed doors?
The case will all be played out behind closed doors and the final outcome will be released by the Premier League.
How did this all start?
This started from a computer hacker who leaked emails to a German magazine. The Manchester City emails raised financial concerns and led to both the Premier League and UEFA starting their cases against the Citizens.
The Football Debate's Opinion
If Manchester City are found out to be guilty, which seems likely considering they got out of UEFA’s accusations based on a time limit being exceeded, it will be a disgrace to football. The sword of justice will prove that it never sleeps, and Manchester City should serve severe punishments. This could or should include relegation, as their cheating should not just be punished, but used as an example to other Premier League teams.
The other thing that this threatens is English teams’ success in Europe, calling the Premier League a ‘Super League’ when it has been unfair all along. Some people would say that for the greater politics of European football, that it is a miracle that Manchester City hadn’t won the Champions League. Despite this, there is no certainty that the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona haven’t had the same issues as Manchester City though, looking just as shady at the best of times. We all know that Juventus have already served their punishment earlier this term.
The Premier League must come down on this hard if it is true. Football is more than a game, and fans have had titles taken away, memories spared, and their favourite player stolen as the Citizens have dominated the domestic league with arguably the world’s best coach. The same fans who pump money into the game, and keep the sport alive, have been stolen from. Whether the Premier League do come down hard is up for debate though, as we must remember that Manchester City bring a lot of eyes to English football and provide great content.