The Premier League accuses Manchester City of repeatedly failing to give accurate financial information “that gives a true and fair view of the club’s financial position, in particular with respect to its revenue (including sponsorship revenue), its related parties and its operating costs.”
Per the Premier League’s statement, Manchester City breached 30 different UEFA financial fair play laws between 2009 and last season. This includes 12 instances between 2010 and 2016 where the club lied about how much they were paying players. City now faces unprecedented disciplinary measures that could result in UEFA bans or relegation.
The league’s findings will go to an independent financial commission. The commission will make a ruling on Manchester City’s breach. The Premier League will hand out discipline in accordance with the commission’s findings.
“Manchester City FC is 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 said in a statement responding to the Premier League’s allegation.
“The Club welcomes the review of this matter by an independent Commission, to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence that exists in support of its position,” the club said.
“As such, we look forward to this matter being put to rest once and for all.”
City Football Group, a UAE-based holding firm, bought Manchester City in 2008. Primary owner Sheikh Mansour has a net worth of roughly $21 billion, making him one of the richest owners in club soccer. Manchester City have won the Premier League six times since the acquisition.
Any major points deduction would effectively remove Manchester City from the Premier League title race. The club currently trails league leader Arsenal by just 5 points with 17 matches remaining. City seemed to be catching up, but any such points deduction could crush the club’s season.
Furthermore, a UEFA ban is on the table. Per the Premier League’s statement, many of the charges involve European play, not just English. As a result, the club faces banishment from the Champions League and other European competitions.
Manchester City could also be relegated to the Championship, England’s secondary soccer league. Such a move isn’t unprecedented.
In 2006 Italian club Juventus was relegated to Serie B and stripped of their previous title during the infamous Calciopoli scandal. UEFA found the Italian side guilty of match-fixing, resulting in their ban.
Such a consequence would spark roster turnover. Juventus’s relegation saw almost all of their first-team stars transfer away. Presumably, this turnover would happen to Manchester City’s roster, with numerous stars leaving.
Manager Pep Guardiola’s departure isn’t out of the question either. It is unlikely that the manager would want to coach a club in a non-top 5 league, and a breach of regulation could splinter Guardiola’s relationship with the club.
In May last year, Pep Guardiola said he'd leave the club if Man City ever lied to him.
Today, they have been charged by the Premier League over breaking financial rules across nine seasons. pic.twitter.com/8UQfCBqSoC
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 6, 2023