The Premier League has accused league powerhouse Manchester City of breaching financial regulations for almost a decade.
The Premier League said on Monday it had referred more than 100 cases of alleged rule breaches to an independent committee following a lengthy investigation. From the 2009-2010 season to the 2017-2018 season, Manchester City was accused of breaching financial rules.
“Under Premier League Rule W.82.1, the Premier League confirms that it has today referred a series of alleged breaches of Premier League Rules by Manchester City FC to the committee under Premier League Rule W.3.4,” the league said in a statement. statement.
According to a statement from the EPL, City are accused of “breaching Premier League rules throughout the season which require member clubs to provide accurate financial information to the Premier League in good faith to give the Premier League a true and fair sponsorship income), related parties and their operating costs.”
Manchester City’s City Football Group is largely owned by Sheikh Mansour, the deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates. City Football Group took over the team in August 2008, and Mansour and his ownership group immediately began injecting capital into the team. City finished 10th in the EPL in the 2008-2009 season and fifth in the following season. It has finished in the top four in each of the past 11 seasons and has won six EPL titles during that time. City are currently second in the table following Sunday’s loss to Tottenham.
In a statement, the team said they were “surprised by these alleged breaches of Premier League rules, particularly given the wide-ranging involvement and the wealth of detailed material the EPL has secured”, and “welcome”. A review of the matter by an independent commission to impartially examine the body of irrefutable evidence available to support its position. “
Previous financial allegations against Manchester City
It is not the first time City have been accused of financial impropriety since Mansour took over the club. In February 2020, the club was banned from UEFA’s lucrative Champions League for two seasons for multiple violations of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules.
City were fined more than $30 million as part of the punishment, one of the toughest penalties UEFA has ever imposed to regulate team finances. The team has been accused of inflating sponsorship deals to offset spending on transfer fees for top players. Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, is the title sponsor of the City Stadium and has their name on the team’s jerseys.
Being excluded from the Champions League would deal a major blow to City’s annual revenue. The top four clubs in the EPL qualify for the UEFA Champions League every season, and teams in the tournament earn more than $16 million just from qualifying.
However, the ban was lifted less than six months later for procedural reasons. City pointed out that UEFA rules set a five-year statute of limitations for penalties related to breaches of the FFP. The Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned the ban in July 2020, citing the rule and saying there was “insufficient conclusive evidence”.
If it’s found guilty by the Premier League’s independent commission, City could receive a points penalty and get pushed down the league table. However, it seems unlikely that any penalty would come anytime soon and if City does receive a points deduction, the team will surely appeal the punishment.
The English Premier League has accused Manchester City of more than 100 breaches of the league’s finance rules and referred the club to an independent commission, according to a statement released on Monday.
City is accused of failing to provide accurate financial information in accordance with Premier League rules from the 2009-10 season until the 2017-18 campaign.
“The members of the Commission will be appointed by the independent Chair of the Premier League Judicial Panel,” the Premier League statement said, adding that the proceedings will be “confidential and heard in private.”
The Premier League also alleges that City failed to comply with UEFA’s financial fair play (FFP) regulations from the 2013-14 to 2017-18 seasons and failed to follow the Premier League’s rules on profit and sustainability from the 2015-16 to 2017-18 seasons.
According to the league’s handbook, City could be suspended from the league, handed a points deduction, or ordered to pay an unlimited fine if found guilty.
City was acquired by The Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008, and since then the club has won six Premier League titles, two FA Cups, and six EFL Cups, as well as finishing runner-up in the Champions League in 2021.
That success has been achieved with the help of assembling an all-star squad with some of the best players in the world.
In a statement on Monday, the club said: “Manchester City FC 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 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.”
In 2020, City was banned from European football competitions for two seasons for “serious breaches” of club licensing and FFP regulations.
The ban was later overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), although the body ruled that City had failed to cooperate with UEFA authorities and an original fine of 30 million euros ($34 million) was reduced to 10 million ($11.3 million).
LONDON — The English Premier League on Monday announced it has referred soccer club Manchester City to an independent commission over alleged breaches of its financial rules.
The organizing body of the top-level English men’s league said this included its rule that clubs must provide it with accurate financial information representing a “true and fair view of the club’s financial position,” particularly relating to revenue.
This was alleged to have been breached in each season from 2009-10 to 2017-18.
The Premier League also claimed the club had failed in its duty to provide full details of manager remuneration, during the 2009-10 to 2011-12 seasons, and on player remuneration, from the 2010-11 season to 2015-16 season.
It further alleged the club had failed to cooperate or assist with its investigations into the matter over the last four years; and had breached Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations between 2013 and 2018.
A commission will be held in private, with members appointed by the chair of the Premier League Judicial Panel.
The club told the BBC in a statement: “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 [English Premier League] has been provided with.”
“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.”
Dan Harraghy, senior analyst at Ampere Analysis, said it was a period where soccer club finances were particularly under the spotlight, from the proposed sales of Liverpool and Manchester United to the recent record-breaking transfer window.
A government review covering club ownership and funding sources, which is expected to recommend an independent regulator, was due to be published Wednesday but was delayed on Monday for up to two weeks.
Manchester City’s “commercial revenues more than quadrupled in the time frame assessed by the Premier League, growing faster than any of the other ‘Big Six’ clubs in that period – although City will be keen to note that results on the pitch meant that the club grew from a mid-table team in 2008/2009 to one of the world’s best and most well-known,” Harraghy said by email.
The Premier League may see the commission as an opportunity to show it can regulate clubs without the need for an independent regulator, he added, as well as inflicting a sanction to deter other clubs from breaching financial regulations.
Manchester City is owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan through his Abu Dhabi-registered firm Newton Investment and Development LLC, the majority shareholder in holding company City Football Group.
In 2022, the club won the Premier League for the fourth time in the last five years.
A spokesperson for Manchester City was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.