Manchester City are one of the biggest clubs in Europe. They won the English Premier League four times since Pep Guardiola took over as manager in 2016 and have won the title six times in the Premier League era. Despite all the success on the field, problems are looming large over their head.

The Premier League have charged the current English champions of multiple Financial Fair Play (FFP) breaches spanning from 2009-10 to 2017-18. The Premier League have assigned an independent commission to investigate these allegations and impose sanctions if necessary. 

Manchester City’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) breach

Since the Abu Dhabi United Group (owned by Sheikh Mansour, the current Deputy Prime Minister of UAE) took over Manchester City in September 2008, a significant amount of money has been invested in the club, ranging from transfers to infrastructural development at the Etihad Stadium. 

The Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules suggest that a club should only spend what they earn to prevent financial issues and also ensure its long-term survival. However, it has been alleged that the Citizens have shown inflated sponsorship deals, hidden their spendings and produced inaccurate financial statements.

According to SKY Sports, City have also not disclosed the financial remunerations of the coaching staff. They claimed that one of the managers during the said time period (2009-10 to 2017-18) was paid a much bigger amount than what was claimed in the financial statements through a secret contract.

The Premier League have also accused the Abu Dhabi-backed club of failure to cooperate with investigation regarding the same allegations.

Other charges include inflated sponsorship deals made by the club to show that they were legally earning all their money. The club’s global partners include Etihad Airways, Puma, Emirates Airlines and Nissan among other renowned MNCs. 

Overall, around a 100 FFP breach charges have been levied on the Mancunian club, who were ‘surprised’ by these allegations and welcomed a full review of the issue. 

In the past, City have been investigated by UEFA over FFP breach allegations. In February 2020, they were banned by UEFA from European competitions for two seasons and also fined €30 million. However, the ban from European competitions was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and the fine was reduced to €10 million.

How could Manchester City be punished for FFP breaches?

An independent commission will take over the investigation process to determine Manchester City’s future in the Premier League. In the said time period, the club won the Premier League title three times, but as it stands, it seems unlikely that they will be stripped off these titles. 

However, Man City could be penalised in several different ways. Here’s a list of sanctions that are likely to be imposed if they are proven guilty, as per Sky Sports

  • Suspend a club from playing league matches
  • Points deductions
  • Recommend to the board that league matches be replayed
  • Recommend to the board that the league expels the respondent club
  • Order compensation
  • Cancel or refuse registration of players
  • Conditional punishment
  • Order the club to pay costs

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