Manchester City FC are in hot water after being charged with more than 100 financial offences. A four-year investigation has uncovered the Premier League giants being in trouble over offences dating back to the start of their 2008 takeover, and the consequences could see City having points deducted and perhaps even expulsion from the top-flight.
Pep Guardiola has cut a jaded figure in recent weeks and his usually well-oiled City team have looked sluggish, laboured, and, frankly, boring. Serial-goalscorer Erling Haaland was devoid of service and City’s rock-solid midfield has looked as flimsy as ever during Guardiola’s seven-year spell at the Etihad.
The investigation could not have come at a worse time for City – who currently trail Arsenal in the title race. They are accused of not providing suitable financial information concerning their true monetary prowess. Areas like revenue, sponsorship, and operation costs are murky in the eyes of the Premier League’s financial board, and the fallout could be huge if the club is prosecuted.
The Premier League said City broke financial rules across nine seasons between 2009-10 and 2017-18, which perfectly coincide with the club’s Premier League dominance. Of the six Premier League titles the club has won, three have come in the last four seasons, with the famous 100-point season taking place in 2017/18.
The club followed that up with a 98-point season in 2018/19, piping Liverpool to the title by a single point.
We can’t deny City’s on-the-pitch quality, but their possible clandestine financial dealings may put the Premier League in a bad light. Not too long ago, Serie A was considered the best league in the world, yet Italian football’s image hasn’t been the same since the infamous Calciopoli scandal of 2005. Juventus were sent packing down to Serie B, and the glamour of the league disappeared overnight. Over 15 years later, and Serie A is only just getting back to its best. If City are indeed found to have broken the rules, then a similar fate could well befall our beloved Premier League.
Pep Guardiola’s historic reign will surely end far from how he would want it to should City be found guilty. He’ll most likely clear out his desk and look for a new job, City’s star players will leave for rival clubs, and the Etihad Stadium will cease to become the fortress it has been over the last decade.
The Manchester-based club is still under investigation and they could very well be found not guilty. One thing I do find ironic, though, is the fact that these revelations took place after the so-called Green Premier League Weekend, where clubs aimed to be as sustainable as they could.
The Premier League can introduce all the e-bikes and recycled kits they want, but their real issue comes in tackling the financial powerhouses who are so keen to play around with the rules laid out in front of them. Whilst green energy is sustainable, it appears Manchester City’s spending is not.
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