An unprecedented points deduction disciplinary crisis looms over Manchester City, the second-place team in the English Premier League (EPL) for the 2023-2024 season.
The UK’s ‘Daily Mail’ reported on March 30 (KST) that “City and the EPL secretariat have agreed a trial date to deal with 115 alleged financial rule violations. City could face a huge points deduction depending on the final verdict.”
City was charged by the EPL in February.
The EPL’s secretariat began investigating City’s breaches of the Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules in 2018 and found 115 charges and set a trial date.
“Both sides have avoided commenting on the exact date, but a trial date has been set for late fall 2024,” according to the Daily Mail. It will be some time before a final verdict is reached.
It may not even be concluded until the end of the 2024-2025 season, when Pep Guardiola’s contract as City manager expires. A ruling could come as early as the summer of 2025, according to the media. It’s not impossible that it could be delayed. If either party appeals, the process is bound to be quite lengthy.
City is accused of 115 rule violations spanning 14 seasons from the 2009-2010 season. The main allegations are inflated financial reporting and lack of cooperation with an EPL investigation that began in 2018. City denies all allegations.
The investigation, which has been highly secretive, is currently in the process of taking witness statements. It will likely continue until next spring. The club claims to have “irrefutable evidence” to support their innocence, but the investigation is still ongoing.
If found guilty of violating the FFP rules, City could lose a huge amount of points. “City would face an unprecedented points deduction,” The Sun explained.
In fact, Everton were charged with an FFP violation in March and were penalized with a 10-point deduction earlier this month. Everton immediately appealed, but if found guilty, they could be relegated. The Toffees currently sit in 19th place with four points.
If the charges against City are proven, they will be forced to drop points. A drop in the standings would automatically follow.
In this regard, Guardiola recently responded to a journalist who asked him if he would be different if City were relegated to the third tier: “I think they talk about us as if we are going to be punished. We are innocent until proven guilty. I know people want us to be punished. I feel it. Now is the time to wait for the results,” he said, holding back his anger.
“Whether City are in the first division or Ligue 1 (the third tier), it will not determine my future,” he said, emphasizing that “if there is City in Ligue 1, there is a greater chance of me staying than if they are in the Champions League.” This means that he is more committed when the team is not doing well.
Guardiola added: “Everton and us are completely different cases. I don’t agree with people criticizing City. We will defend ourselves,” he added.