The Premier League has charged Manchester City with breaching its rules on more than 100 occasions over multiple years. If proven these would be the greatest offences committed by a club in the history of the competition.
The independent commission which will consider the charges could recommend that City be expelled from competition, suspended or docked points if it finds the club guilty. Those sanctions are listed in the Premier League’s handbook but a commission is clear to apply any punishment it considers appropriate.
The six-times Premier League champions have been accused of failing to give “a true and fair view of the club’s financial position”, of failing to “include full details” of player and manager remuneration, of failing to comply with rules regarding financial fair play and failing to co-operate in a Premier League investigation that has concluded after more than four years.
The charges will send shockwaves throughout the world of sport. City have reshaped football since they were taken over by a private equity group controlled by the royal family of Abu Dhabi in 2008. The value of their squad is estimated to be more than £1bn and the club sits at the heart of a global network of 12 football teams.
The financial charges brought against Manchester City cover the period 2009-2018, and those requiring a club to “cooperate with, and assist, the Premier League in its investigations” extend from 2018 to this season. The charges will be heard by an independent commission, to be appointed by the chair of the Premier League judicial panel, Murray Rosen KC.
City were banned from the Champions League by Uefa in February 2020 after being found to have broken the financial rules of the competition and misled the European governing body, only for the ban to be overturned on appeal by the court of arbitration for sport.
On the central finding that City’s Abu Dhabi ownership had disguised its own funding as independent sponsorship by the state’s commercial companies, Cas found: “Most of the alleged breaches were either not established or time-barred.”
Documents disclosed as part of the ‘Football Leaks’ hack appeared to show that City had inflated the value of sponsorship deals from Abu Dhabi companies, and channeled money from the Gulf state to the club. Documents also suggested that the City manager Roberto Mancini had been in receipt of a second, secret, salary during his time at the club.
City have always vociferously denied any wrongdoing. They previously described the Football Leaks revelations as a “clear and organised” attempt to damage the club’s reputation.
A club statement on Monday said: “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.”
The Premier League said proceedings before the commission would, in accordance with its rules, be confidential and heard in private. @ -The Guardian