The English Premier League has charged last season’s champions Manchester City with more than 100 alleged breaches of its financial rules since the club was acquired by the Abu Dhabi-based City Football Group.
The alleged misdemeanours stretch from the 2009-10 season to the 2017-18 campaign, the league said on Monday following a years-long investigation.
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During that period, the team won three Premier League titles: in 2012, 2014 and 2018.
Charges such as those faced by Man City could, if proven, result in a club being expelled from the Premier League in the worst-case scenario. Offending clubs may alternately be deducted points, fined or reprimanded.
Man City are alleged to have breached rules relating to the provision of accurate financial information, “in particular with respect to its revenue [including sponsorship revenue], its related parties and its operating costs”, the league said.
The Premier League added it referred the breaches to an independent commission ahead of a confidential hearing.
Man City, who have won the Premier League title six times in total since the 2008 Abu Dhabi takeover, said they were surprised by the league’s “issuing of these alleged breaches”.
“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,” the club said.
Man City were also charged on Monday with allegedly failing to assist and cooperate with the Premier League in its probe and with incomplete disclosure regarding managerial remuneration from the 2009-10 to 2012-13 seasons, when Italian manager Roberto Mancini was in charge.
It was also judged to have breached Premier League rules requiring clubs to follow European football’s governing body UEFA’s financial fair play (FFP) regulations from the 2013-14 to 2017-18 seasons and failing to follow the Premier League’s rules on profit and sustainability from the 2015-16 to 2017-18 seasons.
FFP regulations are designed to stop clubs from running up big losses through spending on players. They also ensure sponsorship deals are based on their real market value and are genuine commercial agreements – and not ways for owners to pump cash into a club to get around the rules.
The explosive developments came at the end of an extensive investigation by the world’s most popular football league. The probe was launched in December 2018 in the wake of leaked club emails and documents from Man City officials that were published by German magazine Der Spiegel a month earlier.
Man City were subsequently banned from the Champions League by UEFA for two years, but successfully appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which overturned the ban in 2020.
The club were fined 30 million euros ($32.2m) by UEFA, which CAS reduced to 10 million euros ($10.7m).