PL: City breached financial regulations 100+ times

Following a four-year long investigation into Manchester City’s finances, the Premier League have today announced that the club have breached financial regulations more than 100 times over a nine-year period. The club have since been referred to an independent commission, who will assess the severity of the breaches which took place between 2009 and 2018.

The majority stake in the club has been held by Sheikh Mansour’s Abu Dhabi United Group since 2008, and his ownership has long been a cause of controversy surrounding finances in football. The club’s meteoric rise to the top of the tables has been backed up by hundreds of millions in investment – which has already lead to an investigation by UEFA in 2020. Since the takeover, City have spent £2.1bn on new players – a truly unprecedented level of spending in the sport.

UEFA awarded the club a two-year ban from European competition, which City successfully appealed at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Since then, City have continued to spend – though maybe not to the levels we had seen beforehand.

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Today’s announcement will be harder for City to appeal. Premier League ruling states that the club cannot take the decision to CAS. The independent commission can issue a varying range of sanctions – including points deductions, retrospective removal of league titles, fines or expulsion from the top flight.

The league’s statement said that City had failed to provide ‘accurate financial information that gives a true and fair view of the club’s financial position’. The Club are also accused of failing to disclose manager remuneration between 2009/10 and 2012/13, and player remuneration between 2010/11 and 2015/16.

It’s likely to be a long process as the independent commission come to a conclusion – bear in mind that just getting to this stage has taken four years. City strongly deny all accusations of financial wrongdoing, issuing a statement stating that the Club are surprised to hear of today’s announcement, ‘particularly given the extensive engagement and vast amount of detailed materials that the EPL has been provided with’. Manchester City also added that they look forward to the involvement of an independent commission that will ‘impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence that exists in support of its position’.

The Premier League’s statement also raises questions around the future of head coach, Pep Guardiola – who implied he would leave the club should they be found guilty of financial wrongdoing during the UEFA investigation.

I said to them [City Football Group]: ‘If you lie to me, the day after I am not here. I will be out… I put my faith in you because I believe you 100% from day one and I defend the club because of that.’

Pep Guardiola speaking to the press after UEFA’s investigation into City’s finances.

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