What financial breaches have Man City been charged with, could they be relegated, when will we know the outcome? | The Sun
MANCHESTER CITY are in trouble. But what are the allegations against them?
The Premier League have accused the club of multiple breaches of financial and other rules over a nine-year period from 2009-2018 and then failing to cooperate with a League probe for the past FOUR years.
In total there are 32 separate charges adding up to 113 alleged breaches of League rules.
What does that mean, though?
In simple terms, the club stands accused of not providing “accurate financial information” that gave a “true and fair” picture regarding City’s revenues, actual salary payments to players and managerial staff deals with sponsors.
That’s serious, right?
Absolutely. Deadly serious. And it could have huge repercussions for the club.
League legal chiefs believe City hid the true source of their revenues by claiming they were from sponsors when in fact they were funded by the club’s Abu Dhabi owners.
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City are also accused of paying a significant part of former boss Roberto Mancini’s salary through a Abu Dhabi shell company and hiding that fact.
In another section of the charge, City are said to have not given full details of player wages.
The club stands accused of breaching Uefa FFP rules for five seasons and Prem “profitability and sustainability” regulations over three seasons.
And perhaps most seriously, City are said to have failed to give full information to Prem legal investigators over FOUR years since the probe began in December 2018.
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How did we get here in the first place?
The investigation into City’s finances was sparked by reports by the German investigative magazine Der Spiegel which accused City of hiding millions in funding from the club’s owners, Abu Dhabi United Group, under the guise of legitimate sponsorship earnings from Gulf-based companies including Etihad Airways and investment giants Aabar.
City consistently criticised the “illegal hacking and out of context publication of City emails” but the allegations saw Uefa conduct its own inquiry which saw the club banned from European competition for two years in February 2020.
But that ban was overturned, wasn’t it?
It was. City lawyers successfully argued at the Court of Arbitration for Sport that the Uefa charges were brought too late and were not legitimately levied against them. CAS did fine City £9m for failing to cooperate with the Uefa inquiry.
Will City take the same approach now?
The club’s bullish statement suggested it will be a full-on and aggressive defence, citing the club’s “irrefutable evidence” and describing the “surprise” at the Prem charges. But it is understood there are no time limitations for alleged breaches of League rules.
And what could the punishment be – if City are found guilty, of course?
Anything from a slap on the wrist and a fine to enforced relegation or even expulsion from the Prem. Points deductions could also be in place, whether just for this season or spread over the years in which the offences were allegedly committed.
What could the punishment be – if City are found guilty, of course?
The ONLY time a Prem club has had points deducted was in 1997 when Middlesbrough were stripped of three points for failing to complete their fixture at Blackburn, a decision which ultimately relegated the Teesiders. Since then, League chiefs have baulked at applying similar penalties and the independent commission into the Carlos Tevez affair in 2006 ruled that while West Ham deserved to lose points, it would have been unfair on their fans as it would have guaranteed relegation.
Retrospective points lost would be different but would open up City to massive compensation claims totalling millions from the clubs who would have finished above them in those seasons – a one-point deduction in 2015-16, for example, would have seen Manchester United leapfrog City into fourth and a £40m-plus Champions League windfall.
City, currently second in the table, face possible punishments including a points deduction, transfer bans, spending limits and even expulsion from the league and stripping of previous titles.
In the period concerned, the reigning Prem champions won three titles – in the 2011-12, 2013-14 and 2017-18 seasons.
It is not known what would happen to those titles, and whether they would be awarded to the runners-up, if City face the toughest possible sanction.
If the league title is simply handed to the second placed side, Man Utd could pick up two more titles – from the 2011-12 and the 2017-18 seasons. Liverpool finished second in 2013-14 and could stand to be awarded that trophy.
However, it is also possible if City are stripped that the titles will go unassigned.
In the last case of a major team being expelled from a league, Italian giants Juventus were booted from Serie A over the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal.
They won both the 2004-05 and 2005-06 titles but were downgraded to last place in the latter season and relegated to Serie B.
Inter Milan were awarded the 2005-06 title, but the previous season's trophy remains unassigned.
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So when will we know what the outcome is?
That is still unclear but there will be huge pressure on the Prem to hold the hearing swiftly and announce the result before the end of the season.
City would have the right of appeal but only to a Prem appeals panel and not, this time, to CAS.
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