Crisis At the Etihad

Man City charged with breaching financial rules, and face potentially severe punishment 

There is a crisis brewing at Man City.  

The defending EPL champions have been charged by the Premier League with allegedly breaching over a hundred financial rules between 2009 and 2018. 

crisis at the etihad

The offences include hiding the club’s true source of funding, declaring only part of the salaries paid out to players and managers, and refusing to cooperate with an official probe into their finances. 

Here we go again 

If all of this sounds strangely familiar, it is because this is not the first time City have been accused of breaking financial fair play regulations. 

UEFA had slapped a two-year Champions League ban on them back in 2020 for a similar offence, although the verdict was later overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. 

This time, however, the Premier League’s charges are far more comprehensive, and comes at the end of a four-year investigation into City’s finances. 

What has the reaction been like? 

crisis at the etihad

City, unsurprisingly, say they were taken by surprise by the allegations, and claim to have sufficient evidence to prove their innocence. They have until February 23rd to respond to the charges. 

Rival teams have not spoken publicly about the latest developments, although a number of chiefs from top clubs are reportedly demanding the harshest possible punishment. (No surprises there, either) 

But perhaps the one person who will be following the proceedings extra closely, is City manager Pep Guardiola.  

When asked about potential financial wrongdoing by City in a press conference in May last year, Pep said that he will quit if it turns out the club’s owners had lied to him about their accounts.  

"When they are accused of something I ask them: ‘Tell me about that.’ They explain and I believe them.” 

 I said to them: ‘If you lie to me, the day after I am not here. I will be out and I will not be your friend any more. I put my faith in you because I believe you 100% from day one and I defend the club because of that." 

So what happens now? 

The matter will be brought to an independent commission for further review and action.  

If found guilty, City could be hit with either a massive fine, a points deduction, transfer bans, being hit with spending limits, being stripped of their previous titles or expulsion from the league. 

A fine for a club of City’s financial might will serve as nothing more than a slap on the wrist. 

A transfer ban or spending limit will hit them a little harder, as it will affect their future chances of competing for domestic and European honours. 

Being stripped of past titles, however, will have more far-reaching repercussions not just for City but for rival teams as well. 

Hypothetically speaking…if City’s recent league titles are revoked…it would mean that Liverpool and Man United would be the biggest beneficiaries. 

United finished as runners up in 2011/2012, 2017/2018 and 2020/2021…and would be declared league winners by default if City are stripped of their titles for those seasons. 

Liverpool, on the other hand, finished in second place in 2013/2014, 2018/2019 and 2021/2022. 

As you can see…revoking City’s past titles will require quite a bit of re-writing the history books. 

The worst-case scenario, of course, would be expulsion from the league.  

While technically a possibility, this punishment is unlikely to be meted out due to its severity and the damage it will inflict not just on Man City, but the Premier League as a whole, in terms of the hit to their reputation and future earnings. 

Also remember that regardless of the verdict, both the Premier League and Man City will have the right to appeal the decision.  

So this is not a problem that’s going to be resolved anytime soon. 

Watch this space.