Manchester City is under threat of top-flight relegation after the Premier League was charged with more than 100 alleged breaches of financial regulations.
In what could be one of the biggest scandals in English football history, the Premier League champions were hit on Monday with a catalog of charges covering 14 seasons from 2009/10 to the current campaign.
The bombshell revelation follows a four-year investigation by the Chief Executive into City’s practices and, if the allegations are proven, the club could face an unprecedented range of penalties including points deductions, fines and the ultimate sanction of relegation. series.
An independent disciplinary committee – likely to be chaired by Murray Rosen KC – will hear the charges. The hearings will be held in private but no timetable has been set.
In a statement released on Monday morning, the Premier League said: “The Premier League confirms that it has today referred a number of alleged breaches of Premier League Rules by Manchester City Football Club to a commission.”
City expressed “surprise” at the Premier League’s move and said it would welcome the commission’s hearing as an opportunity to “put to rest once and for all” allegations of financial probity that have dogged the club for years “.
“Manchester City is shocked at the release of these alleged breaches of Premier League Rules, particularly given the extensive involvement and the large amount of detailed material provided to the EPL,” the club said in a statement.
“The club welcomes a review of this matter by an independent commission, to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence that exists to support its position.
“So we look forward to putting this matter to rest once and for all.”
‘This is tactical’
City sources believe the timing of the Premier League’s announcement is no coincidence with a long-awaited government white paper on football governance due soon.
Club insiders feel it is part of the Premier League’s strategy to show they are capable of adequate governance amid calls for an independent football regulator. “This is tactical,” one source said.
City also revealed that the club had not been notified of the fees in advance. City chief executive Ferran Soriano is understood to have first been made aware of the news as it was about to go live on the Premier League website and the club is said to be somewhat dismayed that elements of the media became aware of the story. information in front of them.
The scale of the alleged violations is fascinating. The charges related to financial reporting cover nine seasons from 2009/10 to 2017/18.
In addition, City have been accused of not co-operating with the investigation and failing to provide documents as required over a period of five seasons from 2018/19 to this season. The Premier League first opened their investigation into City in March 2019.
Some of the charges also relate to the club’s alleged failure to provide full details of former manager Roberto Mancini’s wages during the 2012/13 season and “not to provide full details of player remuneration in his relevant contracts with players” from 2010/11 to 2015. /16, both of which are required under Premier League rules.
In February 2020, Uefa banned City from competing in Europe for two years and fined them €30 million (£24.9 million) for allegedly breaching the European governing body’s Financial Fair Play rules regarding sponsorship income. Five months later, the ban was overturned and the fine reduced to €10 million (£8.3 million) on appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).
Cas ruled that most of the alleged violations were unfounded or time-barred. There are no such time restrictions under Premier League rules although City are understood to be confident Cas would have authorized it even if some of the breaches were not “time-barred”.
City’s battle with the Premier League has been going on for years. In July 2021, it emerged following a Court of Appeal decision that City had challenged the jurisdiction of the arbitration panel set up by the Premier League and had failed to resist demands for documents and information on hand.
Regarding the Premier League’s investigation, Lord Justice Males, one of the judges, said in the decision that it was “surprising, and a matter of legitimate concern to the public, that after two and a half years so little progress has been made – with with us, it can be noted that the club has twice been crowned Premier League champions”.
Sir Julian Flaux, the chancellor of the High Court, also said that City’s attempts to prevent their challenge from being reported publicly were “sad”.
He said: “The suggestion that press interest and speculation could interfere with the investigation or the arbitration, both of which are being conducted by experienced professionals, is completely delusional. Similarly, the suggestion that comment and speculation from the press after publication could damage the club’s relationship with commercial partners was unconvincing.”
City have also been charged by the Premier League for their alleged breach of Uefa regulations, after they were found to be in breach of Club Licensing and FFP regulation in Europe.
Premier League rule W.51 covers the commission’s sanctioning powers where an infringement or alleged infringements are found and proven.
These range from reprimands, from points deductions up to a recommendation to the league to expel a club from the competition.
The Commission has the power to make such sanctions conditional on taking specified actions within a fixed time period, and respondents have a right of appeal.
Murray Rosen KC, appointed in 2020, is the chairman of the independent refereeing panel in the Premier League.
He will now select individuals to sit alongside him on a commission to consider the alleged rule breaches. The panel also has access to consult with other independent financial and legal experts.
“The members of the Commission will be appointed by the independent Chairman of the Premier League Judicial Panel,” the Premier League said in a statement.
“The proceedings before the Commission, in accordance with Premier League Rule W.82, will be confidential and will be heard in private. Under Premier League Rule W.82.2, the Commission’s final award will be published on the Premier League website.
“This certification is made in accordance with Premier League Rule W.82.1. The Premier League will make no further comment on this matter until further notice.”