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Manchester City accused of breaching FFP rules.

On Wednesday, Manchester City defeated the then league leaders Arsenal to snatch that top spot for themselves, which is a bit surprising considering they’ve been hit with some potentially hefty charges by the Premier League which could see them serve a wide range of punishments.

What is going on at Manchester City?

Following the findings of a four year investigation, Manchester City Football Club are being charged by the Premier League for breaking financial rules over the span of 9 seasons. Along with these charges, the Premier League are claiming that the football club has failed to cooperate with the investigation since late 2018. The Premier League believes that Manchester City have failed to provide “accurate financial information that gives a true and fair view of the club’s financial position.” This of course could be done by tweaking the numbers to show that they’ve earned more than is true or spent less.

In a public statement published on their website, the Premier League state the following:

“Premier League confirms that it has today referred a number of alleged breaches of the Premier League Rules by Manchester City Football Club (Club) to a Commission under Premier League Rule W.3.4.”

“Commissions are independent of the Premier League and member clubs. The members of the Commission will be appointed by the independent Chair of the Premier League Judicial Panel, in accordance with Premier League Rules W.19, W.20 and W.26.”

“The proceedings before the Commission will, in accordance with Premier League Rule W.82, be confidential and heard in private. Under Premier League Rule W.82.2, the Commission’s final award will be published on the Premier League’s website.”

To read the full statement made by the Premier League, which includes a timeline of the specific rules breached by Man City, click here.

As expected, Manchester City answered with a statement of their own, stating they are “surprised” by these charges, but “welcomes the review of this matter by an independent Commission.” 

This investigation first kicked off when the German media company Der Spiegel published the investigation using the work of Portuguese computer hacker Rui Pinto. The information obtained and provided by the hacker consisted of emails written by various clubs and agents. This of course caught the attention of UEFA back in 2020, and now after years of investigation, the Premier League is finally ready to act.

As just mentioned, UEFA also had its issues with Manchester City, even issuing Man City a two year ban from European competition and a fine of over $32 million. However, they appealed the punishment and were able to get it overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sports, along with a reduced fine to around $10 million. The basis of that decision being overturned was Man City pushing the argument of the events they’re being punished for happened ‘Too long ago.” This same argument would not stand in this instance and an appeal to the CAS out according to the Premier League rules.

Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta

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What happens next?

Manchester City are hoping to be found not guilty on all charges in order to avoid any punishment. They will be heard by an independent commission, with members of the panel being chosen by the Premier League. Any decision can be appealed by either party, however the CAS will have no involvement.

If Man City are found guilty, the range of punishment could be game changing. Asides from a hefty fine, the punishment being talked about most would be a point deduction. If we were to use the recent Juventus ruling as an example, considering they were charged for a similar issue, Man City would be issued a 15 point penalty in whatever season the punishment is issued. Although it is unlikely for a decision to be made by the end of this season, this punishment would see the league contenders drop from 2nd place to 8th, outside of European competition for the moment being.

Another potential punishment could see the club get relegated to the league below, another punishment seen by Juventus back in 2006. This would be a harsh punishment considering i bianconeri saw this for match fixing. Although unrealistic, it is a possibility. This relegation would send them down to the EFL League Two, however, they are not obligated to accept them. If this were the case, this would see Manchester City joining the likes of Hollywood star owned Wrexham AFC at the Vanarama National League.

The most harsh potential punishment could be the idea of stripping Manchester City of the titles won in the time span in which they are being charged for. Which include:

  • 3 Premier League Titles
  • 3 English League Cups
  • 1 FA Cup
  • 1 English Super Cup.

As previously mentioned, a final judgment is unlikely to be made any time soon, Manchester City have a long legal battle ahead of them. From what we’ve seen, they’ve seemed to bounce back from these charges in a way they and their fans could be happy about. They hope to only continue in this direction, while hopefully proving their innocence off the pitch.

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