Relegation from the Premier League is a real possibility for Manchester City if alleged rule breaches are found proven, Abbeylivenetwork.com understand.
It was revealed on Monday morning that City have been hit with more than 100 charges by the Premier League, with the club accused of breaking financial rules over a nine-year period.
The news comes after a four-year investigation by the Premier League into the club’s finances.
It remains to be seen on what becomes of the club following the charges but football finance expert Kieran Maguire gave a comprehensive assessment of what the current state of play is on Monday night’s Kick Off show on talkSPORT.
What have Man City been accused of?
“I think we can focus on two main areas. First of all, the allegation that Manchester City have artificially inflated the money coming into the club.
“In particular regard to commercial and sponsorship income and the reason why that’s important is that Financial Fair Play calculations and limits are effectively income less costs.
“So if you can boost your income, and I think this is in particular regard to sponsorship arrangements with companies connected to Abu Dhabi. So I think that’s one area.
“The second area is the accusation that Manchester City have artificially deflated their costs by employing people on contracts but effectively giving them parallel contracts with money coming in from other sources which are related to people connected to the club.
“So you pay a manager £2million-a-year and on top of that he’s getting another £2million-a-year for a job that doesn’t actually involve any or very much work and really the manager spent all of his time working for Manchester City.
“So you’ve deflated your costs, inflated your revenue and this has allowed the club to spend more money on other wages and more money on transfer fees and therefore it’s had an artificial advantage over the rest of the Premier League.”
How have these charges come about?
City have been referred to an independent commission by the Premier League.
They are alleged to have breached rules between 2009 and 2018, as well as not cooperating since the investigation started in 2018.
In a statement, the Premier League said that City have breached rules that called for them to provide “accurate financial information that gives a true and fair view of the club’s financial position, in particular with respect to its revenue (including sponsorship revenue), its related parties and its operating costs.”
A second set of alleged breaches refer to the breaking of rules “requiring a member club to include full details of manager remuneration in its relevant contracts with its manager”, which applies to Roberto Mancini’s tenure from the seasons 2009/10 to 2013/14.
Such breaches are also related to the requirement for a club to ‘include full details of player remuneration in its relevant contracts with its players’ for the seasons 2010/11 to 2015/16 inclusive.
City have also allegedly breached rules that relate to their inability to comply with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations from the 2013/14 season through to 2017/18.
The club are also alleged to have breached league rules requiring member clubs to co-operate with and assist the Premier League with its investigations, from December 2018 to date.
Could Man City be relegated from the Premier League?
“That is one option,” said Maguire. “The independent commission, rather than the Premier League, will be the people that set the tariff.
“You can go anywhere from a bit of a finger wagging, ‘don’t do it again, you need to keep your house in order in terms of paperwork’, through to fiscal penalties, through to points deductions, through to relegation and expelling the club from the Premier League.
“This I think would be I think a very interesting situation in the sense that one of the present shareholders of the Premier League is Manchester City itself so it would be unprecedented.
“Then of course we’ve got the fact that Manchester City would have a right of appeal should there be severe sanctions given to them by this commission.
“How long it’s going to take is very uncertain given that Manchester City by all accounts were completely blindsided by the timing of the announcement today.
“Normally in these things there might be a joint announcement by two parties, well that wasn’t the case and therefore Manchester City will say ‘well if there’s 100 charges then we need an appropriate amount of time to produce a robust defence against these 100 charges’, and how long that could take, heaven knows.”
If the severest punishment was handed out and the six-time Premier League champions were booted out of England’s top-flight then their future would be uncertain.
The English Football League, who comprise the 72 teams in the Championship, League One and League Two, would be under no obligation to guarantee City a place into its structure.
Could Man City be stripped of their titles and cups?
There is a possibility that City could be stripped of their Premier League titles as the rule breaches would bring the seasons in question into disrepute.
City have won the league six times over the span of the investigation and have claimed glory in the last two seasons.
In that time, Manchester United and Liverpool have both finished as runners-up to City in three of those campaigns.
Should City have their titles taken away, United and Liverpool would stand to claim an extra trio of league victories each.
As this is a Premier League investigation, City would not lose their cup wins.
The club have won two FA Cups, six League Cups and three Community Shields since 2012.
What other punishments could Man City face?
While relegation or losing titles would seem more unlikely, Man City would face a host of other possible sanctions if they are found guilty.
The independent commission would have the power to suspend City from Premier League games and deduct points.
They could recommend to the board that the effected league matches be replayed but this would seem logistically impossible.
The could order substantial compensation, cancel or refuse players registration or order the club to pay fines. A sweeping transfer ban could also come into effect.
The independent commission would also have the right to make any such order as it deems fit or combine the sanctions.
What does this mean for the future of Pep Guardiola?
With relegation a possibility, questions have been raised over the future of manager Pep Guardiola.
If such an outcome was to happen, talkSPORT’s Alex Crook does not believe the Spaniard would stay at the club.
He said: “I guess ultimately it will be determined by the outcome of these charges and by the punishment.
“I mean, if City were relegated from the Premier League, I don’t see Guardiola hanging around long for the journey anyway.”
In May last year, Guardiola said he would leave the club if he found out that City’s owners have been lying to him.
He revealed: “I said to them, ‘if you lie to me, the day after I’m not here. I will be out and you will not be my friend anymore.’”
On the comments, Crook added: “That’s a big moral claim isn’t it, ‘if they’re lying to me, I will go’.
“His press conference in the build-up to their next Premier League game at the weekend is going to be fascinating.
“You could bet the first question will be about those comments and it’ll be interesting to see how he responds.”
What have Man City said about it all?
The club issued the following statement on Monday lunchtime.
It read: “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.”
Guardiola is yet to face the media following the revelations but will do so on Friday ahead of City’s Premier League clash at home to Aston Villa on Sunday.