Manchester City have been charged by Premier League with numerous alleged financial breaches during a nine-year period from 2009 up until 2018.
If found guilty, the ramifications could be huge, not just for City but for the entire Premier League, including some of their fiercest rivals.
Premier League Charge Manchester City with Alleged Financial Breaches
Man City latest: under Premier League rules the club will not be able to appeal any sanction to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (which overturned the UEFA ban)
— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) February 6, 2023
The Premier League’s Statement
The place to start is of course with the Premier League’s official statement regarding the breaches. On February 6, the organisation released a statement on their website which stated: “In accordance with Premier League Rule W.82.1, the Premier League confirms that it has today referred a number of alleged breaches of the Premier League Rules by Manchester City Football Club to a Commission under Premier League Rule W.3.4.”
There are a wide array of alleged breaches, however, three, in particular, stand out more than most. Firstly, the club are suspected of failing to provide “accurate financial information that gives a true and fair view of the club’s financial position”.
Secondly, City have also allegedly failed to provide full details of remuneration contracts with its players, as well as a specific, unnamed manager.
Finally, the club have also allegedly refused to “cooperate with, and assist, the Premier League in its investigations” since December 2018.
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The Premier League also confirmed that the “proceedings before the Commission will, in accordance with Premier League Rule W.82, be confidential and heard in private. Under Premier League Rule W.82.2, the Commission’s final award will be published on the Premier League’s website.”
Possible Sanctions for Manchester City
Breaches of this severity have a multitude of potential sanctions, all of which will greatly impact Manchester City as a club. If found guilty, the reported possible consequences are not limited to, but include:
- Potential points deductions
- the club being expelled from the Premier League
- Registration of incoming players to be cancelled or refused
- Fines being placed upon the club
Potential Impacts on Manchester City
If the independent commission finds City guilty, the impact on the club will vary depending on which of the above sanctions are put in place.
Given the well-documented riches of their owners, a stand-alone financial penalty of any kind is unlikely to have too large an impact on the club. However, points deductions or expulsion from the league would be far more significant. Both would result in huge financial problems, as well as derailing the entire long-term project at the club.
A huge source of income for all Premier League clubs is broadcasting deals, however, if City were demoted to the Championship, or perhaps even further down in the football pyramid, that income would be affected massively.
Players would have to be sold, Pep Guardiola would likely move on, and it could potentially take the club years to recover from such punishments.
How Could It Affect Other Premier League Clubs?
Naturally, any punishment that worsens Manchester City’s status in the league would inherently benefit their rivals. If found guilty before the end of the current season, then Arsenal in particular would be in a far superior position at the top of the Premier League.
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However, a resolution is likely to take time, and therefore, any possible sanctions, should City be found guilty, would likely take effect in future campaigns. But, with that being said, it is a possibility that Manchester City could be stripped of previous Premier League titles.
If this were to happen, then a question would be raised as to whether the title would then be awarded to the second-placed team of that specific season. That would be either Manchester United or Liverpool, given that those are the only two sides to finish second to City during the discussed period of time. It is a tricky situation, as other clubs may then request financial payment for missed European football places or underserved relegation using the same logic.
Essentially then, rewarding other teams the Premier League title retrospectively is difficult and could create new issues for the league, but it is certainly a possibility.
A Potential Negative for the Premier League
Finally, it is also worth noting that the entire investigation could lead to Manchester City reigniting their interest in the previously frowned-upon concept of the ‘Super League’ in an attempt to limit the effect of any punishment they could face. If that were to happen, and City were to be successful in achieving the ‘Super League’, then the entirety of the Premier League would be reduced as a product for the organisation to market.
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Ultimately, this is all speculation at this stage and Manchester City are not officially guilty of any wrongdoing. If they are deemed innocent, then Premier League life will likely continue as it currently does, but, if they are found guilty, the widespread impact not just on the club, but the entire league, could potentially be huge and long-lasting.