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In the eye of storm

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In what is turning out to be a crazy Premier League, a new twist was added when six-time English league champions were charged with breaching several financial rules. The announcement made on February 6 alleged that the club had gained an unfair advantage by breaking several regulations, which allowed them to spend far more than stipulated under FFP rules. 

And now an inquiry from an independent commission is pending. There are various issues that need to be addressed. This is not the first time the club has been placed under such an inquiry. In 2018, UEFA accused the club of similar actions and announced a two-year ban on the club. However, the club had the ban overturned after appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). 

However, this time the club’s request to go to the CAS has now been dismissed which means they will have to wait for an independent commission and their findings before they can appeal against it.

But what are the allegations against Manchester City, and what punishment could they face if found guilty? We explain. 

Manchester City Financial Breach Allegations Explained

According to the Premier League, Manchester City have broken FFP regulations more than 100 times between 2009 and 2018. This period started immediately after Sheikh Mansour bought the club. 

According to the Premier League, the club has deliberately misled them by providing false salary figures. This meant that on paper, the club showed they were following all the FFP rules while they were massively spending over their limits. 

If true, this also means that they signed additional players because of these alleged skirting of financial regulations. The significant charges are related to the period between 2010-16 when the Premier League alleges that several players’ salaries were falsified. The allegations go as far back as 2009-13 when Premier League said they found several irregularities in then-manager Roberto Mancini’s salary. 

In addition, the club have also been accused of deliberately cooking their books to show that they were generating massive profits and were sustainable in the long term. 

Italian club Serie A were accused of something similar just weeks before and as a result have been docked 15 points. However, in City’s case, only the Premier League have conducted their investigation, and there will be a long time before the entire case comes to a close.

And while Manchester City escaped UEFA’s ban after appealing that the case being quoted was more than five years old, which can’t be investigated by the European body as per their rules. However, the Premier League has no limitations, meaning that City will have to prove their innocence in front of the independent commission.

What punishment could Manchester City face? 

City will escape any immediate actions as the independent actions will take a long time before they can decide. However, the independent commission has massive powers and could sanction any club with massive sanctions.

These sanctions are:

  • Suspension of a club from playing league matches.
  • Docking of points 
  • Recommendation to the board that several games be replayed.
  • Recommendation to the board that the club be expelled from the league. 
  • Direct the club to pay compensation for violating rules.
  • Cancel or disallow registration of new or existing players.
  • Conditional Punishment 
  • Direct the clubs to pay a fine.
  • Any other punishment that is deemed to be fit according to the seriousness of the allegations if proved true.

Among these, the last recommendation could be the most devastating if the independent commission uses it. The worst case scenario could be City getting stripped of the titles they won during the 2009-18 period.

However, based on current evidence, the most likely scenario would be the club being hit with a fine and also being banned from transfers and registering new players.

The club has won six Premier League titles, six EFL Cups, three Community Shield, and two FA Cups in these nine years. However, back in May, in an interview, Pep Guardiola had said that he would leave the club if such allegations were found to be true. “I said to them, ‘If you lie to me, I am not here. I will be out”, he had said. 

However, such cases take years to resolve, and even then, City and the Premier League have the right to appeal against the decisions of the independent commission. The club also said that since the British government was already planning to release a white paper on the issue, the Premier League brought charges quickly to show they were perfectly capable of handling the situation. 

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How this breach come into limelight 

The current case began in November 2018 when German magazine Der Spiegel in its extensive coverage of financial scams in the game called the ‘Football Leaks’, accessed documents that proved Manchester City and Paris Saint Germain had violated the FFP rules.

Der Spiegel also said Roberto Mancini was given twice his stipulated salary at Manchester City for an advisory role to a club in the United Arab Emirates. Other allegations were related to the payments regarding using a player’s image.

City had refuted the claims back then, but after more than four years, those allegations have returned to haunt them. However, for now, City will continue their season on the field in the Premier League and the Champions League.

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
A Bayern Munich fan who is deeply in love with football statistics. Has a soft spot for goalkeepers! (well only he knows why). You’ll find him vibing on 70’s classic songs and spends an abnormal amount of time cooking.

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