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These could be Manchester City’s penalties following the Premier League financial investigation



Premier League, Manchester City, Pep Guardiola, Investigations, Penalties, Explained

The Premier League has uncovered ‘a number of alleged breaches’ in Manchester City’s financial records which could result in penalties.

For four years, the Premier League has scrutinized Manchester City’s finances and announced on February 6 that the club had acted unlawfully by circumventing regulations on multiple counts.

Essentially, Manchester City are accused of gaining an unfair advantage over other clubs. The penalties for doing so could be severe.

The announcement of the investigation results is not the end of the story. SPOX and GOAL explain what Manchester City could face, including possible penalties for alleged breaches of financial regulations.

What did Man City allegedly do wrong?

The club is accused of breaching Premier League rules more than 100 times between 2009 and 2018, a period right after the club was taken over by Sheikh Mansour from the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008.

In particular, the club are said to have failed to provide accurate financial information to the Premier League and misled regulators about revenue, including sponsorship revenue and operating costs. There have been reported inconsistencies in how much Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini paid from 2009-2013 and various players from 2010-2016 – salary figures to be reported to the league. Also, Manchester City are accused of violating the Premier League’s profitability and sustainability rules from 2015 to 2018.

The scope of the investigation goes beyond national rules; the Premier League has found that Manchester City may have breached UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules from 2013 to 2018. Before that, however, a UEFA ban for City for the European competitions had been lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport CAS. However, a fine of ten million euros was imposed on the club.

“In accordance with Premier League Rule W.82.1, the Premier League confirms that it is today referring a number of alleged breaches of Premier League Rules by Manchester City Football Club to a commission under Premier League Rule W. 3.4,” the Premier League said in a statement.

Manchester City, who have won six Premier League titles under the current owners, have dismissed all allegations made by the Premier League after the four-year investigation.

“Manchester City are surprised by the publication of these alleged breaches of Premier League rules, particularly given the extensive cooperation and large amount of detailed data and figures provided to the EPL,” the club wrote in its response to the Accusations.

“The club welcomes the review of this matter by an independent commission charged with impartially examining the extensive irrefutable evidence supporting the club’s position.”

“We look forward to this matter being resolved once and for all.”

How is the Premier League investigation into Man City progressing?

The matter is far from over and could drag on for months, if not years.

After releasing their results, the Premier League referred Manchester City to an independent commission which will decide on any penalties. Crucially, the club cannot challenge the decision of this committee before the sports arbitration board, as was the case with the UEFA results.

Hearings before the 15-member panel appointed by the Premier League’s Legal Affairs Committee are closed and confidential. The panel consists of current or retired judges, lawyers and football officials.

There is no fixed timetable for when the Commission will make its decisions.

Possible penalties for Man City: From point deduction to forced relegation

The Premier League report does not detail the penalties Manchester City could face if the independent commission confirms the offences.

However, there is already a list of permissible penalties that independent commissions can impose for violations of the rules. They are listed in the Premier League Statutes.

Under these statutes pretty much anything is possible if the Commission upholds the offenses found by the Premier League.

According to section W.51.4 of the Premier League Official Rules, the following sanctions are possible:

  • A fine of unlimited amount
  • Indefinite exclusion of a club from league games
  • point deductions
  • Repetition of already played games
  • Permanent Ban

An addition underscores the power of the commission:

  • It may make any other arrangement it deems appropriate

So it’s obvious why doomsday scenarios are already circulating in relation to Manchester City. Unlike the UEFA penalties, most of which were overturned by the sports arbitration board, in this case there is no such way out for the club.

However, it is important to note that the above powers of the Commission are general. Nobody who will be involved in this particular investigation has given any indication as to what, if any, Manchester City’s penalty will be. There just isn’t enough information yet to speculate on how the independent panel will decide.

Will Pep Guardiola Leave Man City?

Even without the investigation, there were signs Guardiola was nearing the end of his tenure at Man City. He did sign a two-year contract extension in November, which only temporarily allayed fears he might leave.

“The moment I feel something is wrong, I will resign or not renew my contract,” Guardiola said last month. “I won’t stay like it [Sir Alex] Ferguson or [Arsene] have done less. The contract is just a piece of paper. I have extended my commitment at the club because I feel that the team can still do well under my leadership. In the end, it’s all about the results. If we get too much for each other, I won’t stay until the end because of the contract.”

Manchester City are behind Arsenal in the 2022/23 Premier League title race. Guardiola’s frustration, meanwhile, has been growing, most notably with his controversial statement that he doesn’t care how the team fares this year and his recent jab at the fans.

He has also always stressed that a breach of trust over City’s financial affairs could hasten his departure.

“I said to our people: ‘Tell me about the suspicions,'” Guardiola said last year. “I looked at them and believed them 100 per cent from day one, that’s why I defended the club after that.”

What’s next for Man City?

Guardiola and his team will be bombarded with questions about the Premier League allegations. And there will be speculation about the manager’s future until he confirms in the course of the investigation that he stands by the club.

However, an extended period of calm could follow after that as the independent commission will deliberate behind closed doors indefinitely on how to proceed with the club.

In the meantime, Manchester City will look to challenge Arsenal for this year’s Premier League title and win the Champions League for the first time under Guardiola.