Manchester City recently won their fourth Premier League title in a row and became the first team in the history of the English top flight to win four successive league titles.

City’s unprecedented success under head coach Pep Guardiola puts them in a league of their own. They have won six league titles in the last seven years, which further highlights their dominance.

However, there’s a belief from some quarters of the football world that the Sky Blues aren’t getting the respect they deserve, primarily because of a dark cloud that has been hanging over their heads and is tainting their achievements.

The black cloud tainting their achievements which is in question here pertains to the Premier League charging City with 115 breaches by the club as far as complying to the league’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

But what exactly are these charges and the implications it can have on Man City? Let’s examine Manchester City’s 115 charges.

Manchester City 115 charges

In February 2023, Man City were charged with breaking the Premier League’s FFP rules more than 100 times or 115 times to be precise.

These breaches are said to have taken place over a period of nine years from 2009 to 2018 during which City won the league title thrice in 2012, 2014, and 2018.

The fact that these charges coincide with the period of the club’s transformation into a powerhouse of English football is what has put their achievements under a scanner.

The charges levelled against City vary from failing to provide accurate financial information to not complying with UEFA's FFP rules as well as not disclosing manager compensation amounts.

Apart from these charges, City have also been charged 35 times for allegedly failing to cooperate with the Premier League's investigation process.

The complete breakdown of all of City’s charges are as follows: 

  • Failure to produce accurate and up-to-date financial information from 2009-10 to 2017-18. City has been charged with as many as 54 charges relating to this breach.
  • There are also 14 charges relating to breaches where City have failed to offer accurate financial reports for player and manager compensation from 2009-10 to 2017-18.
  • Apart from the Premier League, City have also been charged for five breaches for not complying to UEFA's regulations, including UEFA's Club and Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations.
  • A further seven charges relating to the breach of Premier League’s profitability and sustainability regulations from 2015-16 to and including the 2017-18 season have also been levelled against City.
  • Lastly, City have 35 charges relating to breaches on their failure to cooperate with Premier League investigations from December 2018 to present.

While City’s failure to comply offences are straightforward to understand and self-explanatory, it is City 55 breaches for their failure to produce accurate and up-to-date financial information from 2009-10 to 2017-18 is where they are getting the most heat from. 

All Premier League teams have signed a code of compliance with the league that requires them to provide accurate and up-to-date accounts to the Premier League. City’s failure to do so on 55 counts is a major red flag.

As a result, City have been accused of allegedly inflating the value of their sponsorship deals to allow their owner Sheikh Mansour to pump more money into the club.

The other serious charges against City include their failure to provide accurate financial reports for player and manager compensation.

One individual in question with respect to the aforementioned charge is former manager Roberto Mancini, who allegedly was paid over £1 million annually as a consultancy fee for Al Jazira in Abu Dhabi over and above his reported salary.

Such hidden payments are also believed to have been given to players signed during the period of nine years which City are under investigation for as it effectively allowed the club to lay down the foundations of success for Guardiola to take over in 2016.

Interestingly, City were previously fined around £27 million for alleged FFP breaches by UEFA besides also being handed a two-year ban in 2020. However, this was later overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and the fine was reduced to £10 million.

The reason for the reduction was that the panel found some breaches alleged to be time-barred. However, unlike UEFA, the Premier League's investigation does not have a time bar.

If City are found guilty next year following the trial of the case set to begin in November 2024, they can receive a host of sanctions like suspension of games, deduction of points, expulsion from the league, relegation to lower tiers, home matches being played abroad, order compensation, cancel or refusal of new player registration, conditional punishment, payment of fines, and more.

Meanwhile, City have launched their own legal challenge against the Premier League and are claiming to be victims of discrimination from rival clubs.

Photo credit: Alamy