Manchester City charged with breaking financial rules by Premier League

Katie Falkingham, BBC || Shining BD

Published: 2/7/2023 9:45:39 AM
Manchester City were taken over by owners from Abu Dhabi in 2008

Manchester City were taken over by owners from Abu Dhabi in 2008

The Premier League has charged Manchester City with more than 100 breaches of its financial rules following a four-year investigation.

It has referred the club to an independent commission over alleged rule breaches between 2009 and 2018.


It also accused City of not co-operating since the investigation started in December 2018.

City said they were "surprised" by the charges and are supported by a "body of irrefutable evidence".

The commission can impose punishments ranging from a fine and points deduction to expulsion from the Premier League.

"Manchester City 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 said in a statement.

"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."

Last season City won their sixth Premier League title since the 2008 takeover by the Abu Dhabi United Group.

What have City been charged with?

In a statement the Premier League said City breached rules requiring them to provide "accurate financial information that gives a true and fair view of the club's financial position".

This information covered club revenue, which includes sponsorship income and operating costs.

Further alleged breaches relate to rules requiring full details of manager remuneration - from the 2009-10 to 2012-13 seasons, when Roberto Mancini was in charge - and player remuneration between 2010-11 and 2015-16.

The Premier League said City breached rules related to Uefa regulations, including Financial Fair Play (FFP), from 2013-14 to 2017-18, as well as Premier League rules on profitability and sustainability from 2015-16 to 2017-18.

In 2020 European football governing body Uefa ruled that City committed "serious breaches" of FFP regulations between 2012 and 2016.

However, a two-year ban from European competitions was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) later that year.

Uefa began its investigation into City after German newspaper Der Spiegel published leaked documents in November 2018 alleging the club had inflated the value of a sponsorship deal.

The proceedings of the commission - chaired by Murray Rosen KC - will be confidential and heard in private.

When the Premier League investigation began, City said the allegations were "entirely false" and that allegations in Der Spiegel came from "illegal hacking and out of context publication of City emails".

'It will be expensive and will drag on' - analysis

BBC Sport's Simon Stone

City were not given advance warning of the Premier League statement. They were called at the same time the statement was published.

They also note the timing of the statement given the white paper on football governance is about to be published. It is felt that bringing this case it likely to be used by the Premier League as evidence of them being able to deal with governance issues itself.

City are confident in their position and that includes the charges that were time-barred in their Uefa case. The club are understood to have provided the relevant evidence around those charges to the Premier League some time ago.

On the basis it has taken the Premier League four years to get to this point, do not expect a resolution to this case any time soon.

Manchester City have always denied financial wrongdoing. They always said the detail published by Der Spiegel when it was passed information by Football Leaks was incomplete.

When Uefa launched its case, City said they had no faith in that investigation and, when it went against them, they went straight to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, where they were cleared of what they regarded as the substantive allegations, even though some were timed out.

They will be armed with the very best lawyers, looking line by line at every element of the Premier League's case.

The charge sheet includes five years of allegations that City have not assisted with their inquiry - which is all of it.

The whole thing will be expensive and it will drag on.

City manager Pep Guardiola has always said he was assured by his employers that they have done nothing wrong. Others - La Liga president Javier Tebas is one of the loudest voices - argue vehemently the other way.

Should City win, legally, they will be clear, even if the sniping will continue.

Should they lose, all manner of punishments can be handed down. The Premier League's scope in that sense is completely open-ended and we are in uncharted territory.

We are now beginning a very long end game. City's reputation - and the reputation of those who own it - is on the line. The outcome, whenever it comes, will be fascinating.

Man City success since takeover - a timeline

  • Sept 2008: Abu Dhabi United Group agrees takeover of club. On same day Brazil forward Robinho joins from Real Madrid for a then club record £32.5m
  • Dec 2009: Roberto Mancini appointed manager after sacking of Mark Hughes
  • May 2011: City beat Stoke to win FA Cup, their first major trophy since 1976
  • May 2012: Sergio Aguero scores dramatic stoppage-time winner as Man City win Premier League title on final day of 2011-12 season - their first league title since 1968
  • May 2013: Mancini sacked as manager and replaced by Manuel Pellegrini, who leads City to 2013-14 Premier League title
  • July 2016: Pep Guardiola succeeds Pellegrini as manager
  • May 2018: City win Premier League with record number of points, wins and goals
  • May 2019: City become the first English team to win all four domestic trophies
  • May 2021: City reach their first Champions League final, where they lose Chelsea
  • May 2022: City win sixth Premier League title and 17th trophy since 2008 takeover

How City have grown

  • Club record revenues of £613m and profits of £42m for 2021-22 season
  • In January 2023 topped the Deloitte money league - a list of the world's richest clubs by revenue - for second year in a row ahead of Real Madrid
  • Won six Premier League titles, two FA Cups, six EFL Cups and three Community Shields, but yet to win Champions League
  • Spent 2.38bn euros (£2.1bn) on new players since the takeover, according to TransferMarkt
  • Broke the British transfer record twice in £32.5m signing of Robinho in 2008 and £100m capture of Jack Grealish in 2021

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