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Manchester City’s Premier League rivals demand swift verdict amid fears over title race and European places


Manchester City were charged with breaking financial rules by the Premier League. Photo: Reuters

Manchester City were charged with breaking financial rules by the Premier League. Photo: Reuters

Manchester City were charged with breaking financial rules by the Premier League. Photo: Reuters

Premier League clubs want a quick verdict concerning Manchester City’s alleged breach of more than 100 top-flight rules, with fears over the consequences for this season’s title race and European qualification.

In an announcement that shocked the footballing world on Monday, the Premier League accused City of 115 infringements across 14 seasons after a four-year investigation into alleged financial irregularities. Given the complexity and breadth of the charges, the case is expected to rumble on into the summer.

However, clubs are keen for the situation to be resolved by May to avoid lingering uncertainty over punishment for the reigning champions, which, if they are found guilty, could include fines, points deductions or even relegation from the top-flight.

City are currently engaged in a two-horse race for the Premier League title, trailing leaders Arsenal by five points, having played a game more. Any sanction could also impact the Champions League qualification picture, with fifth-placed Tottenham currently just one point outside the top-four, as well as a crowded push for the minor European places below.

Among the charges levelled at City are allegations the club failed to fully disclose Roberto Mancini’s salary during his four years as manager, failed to present an accurate picture of club revenue, including from sponsorship, and failed to comply with UEFA Financial Fair Play rules, as well as failing to co-operate with the Premier League’s investigation.

In 2020, following a similar UEFA probe, City were hit with a £26.8million fine and two-year Champions League ban, only for the fine to be reduced and the ban overturned after a successful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

However, the CAS route is not available to City this time, as Premier League clubs do not recognise the body, but the club will still be entitled to an appeal in London courts, which could further delay the application of any punishment if found guilty.

While it is thought that other top-flight clubs will be reluctant to actively push for City’s expulsion from the league, at least one is reportedly taking legal advice over its next steps, should the alleged breaches be proven by an independent commission.

“It’s not something we will lobby for, but if they’re guilty, it’s certainly not something we would oppose,” a senior executive at a club outside the traditional ‘big six’ told the Daily Telegraph of the threat of relegation.

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City have been English football’s dominant force across the period of alleged wrongdoing, which stretches back to the 2009-10 season. In that time, City have won six Premier League titles, six Carabao Cups and the FA Cup twice. They have also played Champions League football in every campaign since 2011-12.

City’s success has seen a host of rival clubs miss out on trophies, as well as qualification for European competition and subsequent financial windfalls.

In the extreme scenario of City’s performances being expunged from the record, Manchester United and Liverpool would each have won the title a further three times, while Arsenal and Tottenham would have qualified for the Champions League on three and four more occasions, respectively.

Leicester, Everton and Chelsea have all also missed out on at least one top-four finish across the same period.

Early indications are that punishments are more likely to be imposed moving forward than issued retrospectively, but all options are on the table.

City have strongly denied the allegations of wrongdoing and are expected to fight their corner in the strongest manner.

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