Could Manchester City Be Expelled From The Premier League

By Ian John
February 7, 2023

There is hugely concerning news this week in the Premier League, especially if you are a Manchester City fan.

That is because a Premier League investigation has charged Manchester City with making more than 100 breaches of financial rules, emanating from the 2008-09 season when the current ownership bought control of the club.

The findings of the four-year-long enquiry by the Premier League has now been handed over to an independent commission for them to look over the findings of the investigation and assess whether Manchester City are guilty or not of the breaches.

They will also suggest the suitable punishment for City given the type and number of breaches that they feel the club has been guilty of, if any.

Manchester City’s owners have expressed their “surprise” at the announcement stating that they had attempted to fully comply with the investigation and that they had “a body of irrefutable evidence” that the club had acted within the rules.

Current Situation

Currently, Manchester City are the 7/4 second favourites with bet365 Sport to win the current Premier League title. They are also favourites to win the Champions League and FA Cup with the popular bookmaker.

That isn’t too surprising given that since 2008-09 City have won the following:

  • 6 Premier League titles
  • 2 FA Cups
  • 6 Football League Cups
  • 3 FA Community Shields

That includes a domestic treble achieved in the 2018-19 season.

Since Pep Guardiola took over, City have become one the most dominant forces in the history of English football, regularly challenging for all the top honours every season under the Spaniard.

Guardiola though did say in May 2022 that if the club were guilty of financial misdemeanours, then he would leave the club “the day after”.

What Did The Premier League Investigation Find?

The Premier League investigation started when Manchester City were also being investigated by UEFA for breaching their financial fair play rules too.

That investigation started on the back of an article in Der Spiegel, a German newspaper which published leaked emails and documents in November 2018 alleging that City’s owners had inflated the value of a sponsorship deal and thus breached UEFA and Premier League financial regulations.

UEFA’s investigation found City guilty of several financial fair play breaches in 2020 and subsequently the club wasbanned from Europe for two seasons.

However City appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and they duly overturned the ban allowing City to compete in Europe.

The Premier League investigation sought to establish whether City had bent or broken the financial rules in place to ensure clubs can live within their means in the Premier League.

It began four years ago with the Premier League investigation team seeking cooperation from City for over a hundred potential transgressions of the rules, dating back to the 2008/09 season.

That investigation has now concluded and the club have been charged with over 100 individual infractions including:

  • Not providing “accurate financial information that gives a true and fair view of the club’s financial position”.
  • Full details of how managers from 2009 to 2013 and players from 2010 to 2016 were paid.
  • Breaching UEFA regulations regarding Financial Fair Play from 2013-14 to 2017-18 inclusive.
  • Breaching Premier League rules on profitability from 2015-16 to 2017-18 inclusive.

Additionally, the investigation alleged that City had not co-operated with their investigation since it began back in December 2018.  

When the investigation began, City claimed that the allegations were “entirely false” and that the hacked emails shown in Der Spiegel were the result of “illegal hacking and out of context publication of City emails.”

However, these new findings are a concern, due to the scope of punishments that could be handed out to City that the independent commission can impose.

What Punishments Could Manchester City Face?

One of the biggest concerns for City is that there is literally any form of punishment open to the committee to impose, should they deem the offences they deem City are guilty of to be of sufficient importance and counter to the rules of the Premier League.

On the less concerning end of the scale, the club could face a significant fine, or order compensation or costs (or both) to be paid.

These punishments would in effect, not be a concern for City given the vast riches their owners possess.

More worrying is that the club could be suspended from playing league matches, have points deducted, have the club replay certain league matches as well as placing the club under an effective transfer embargo by cancelling or refusing the registration of players.

And on the severest end of the scale, the commission could recommend that the club is expelled from the Premier League, or indeed make any other order, or combination of punishments as they see fit.

Big Six Seek City’s Expulsion From The Premier League?

There have already been unconfirmed rumours on Twitter that if City are found guilty by the independent commission, that many Premier League rivals, including several of the “Big Six” will seek for City to have the severest penalty imposed – expulsion from the Premier League.

It is thought that they do not want retrospective sanctions applied to City, such as points deductions applied to previous seasons, which would change the winner of the Premier League, or awarding FA or League Cup wins to the runner’s up of the tournaments City won.

Instead, they are aiming for a sanction which would see City removed from the Premier League altogether.

However, if City are expelled the likelihood is that they may well seek to join forces with the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus to kick-start the European Super League project, rather than risk being demoted down the divisions in England.

How Real Is The Threat?

While there is a real threat from the independent commission findings, most fans on Twitter feel that City will get one or more of the lesser punishments on the list.

However, even if they only receive a small punishment, that does leave their manager Pep Guardiola in a somewhat tricky position, especially seeing as he said months back that if the club are guilty of financial mismanagement, then he would leave.

So certainly, it is a worrying time for City but they have the finances to make this a long and costly legal battle if they wish to do so, as well as the option to join the European Super League instead.

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