The landscape of the Premier League was rocked on Monday when Manchester City were charged with breaking over 100 rules in relation to Financial Fair Play.
The six-time Premier League winners have been accused of 101 rule breaches over a nine-year period spanning 2009/10 to 2017/18, with it now down to an independent commission to determine whether or not the club are guilty of the charges levelled at them.
City released a statement expressing their ‘surprise’ at the Premier League alleging any wrongdoing, and said that they ‘welcomed’ the chance for a transparent investigation to clear their name.
What have Man City said about the charges?
“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.
“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.
“As such we look forward to this matter being put to rest once and for all.”
Sources have told 90min that City are indeed ‘bullish’ about the charges and are confident the independent commission will prove they have abided by Premier League regulations.
The worst case scenario for Pep Guardiola’s side is that they could be expelled from the Premier League – an insight provided to 90min by leading sports lawyer, Dan Chapman – while there’s also the threat of a heavy points deduction and/or fine.
Many feel that the latter two would not be significant punishment for City if they are found guilty, particularly among supporter groups of rival clubs and those looking to establish themselves at the top end of the Premier League.
90min understands, however, that there has not been an overwhelming push from other Premier League clubs to impose major sanctions from City, especially from those at the top end of the division.
How could Man City be punished?
City’s defence team will reportedly be led by Lord Pannick KC, who also oversaw their UEFA FFP appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2020.
On that occasion, City were appealing a two-year ban issued to them by UEFA’s club financial control for ‘serious breaches’ of club licensing and FFP, and they were successful in their bid to reinstated into the Champions League and other European competition.