What would happen if Manchester City were found guilty?




By Tony Attwood

When I was last called upon to attend court (on a charge of driving with an insecure load), I knew what the range of outcomes could be: an unlimited fine and loss of my driving licence for as long as the court decided.  I pleaded guilty (the load had indeed come off) but with extenuating circumstances, and the court accepted my evidence.  I was fined a fiver and my licence remained clean.

But I went to court and gave evidence because I knew just how much power the court had, should it wish to use it.  And I guess Manchester City are fighting the multiple cases brought against them by the Premier League for much the same reason.  There is no limit on the penalties that can be imposed.

Now, if you have a good memory, and take an interest in football beyond Arsenal and the Premier League, you might recall that in (I think) 2012, Rangers who played in the top Scottish league were relegated to the Third Division (the fourth tier of Scottish football), having been second in the Premiership that season.   This demotion was agreed by 25 of the 30 SFL clubs.

However one of the things that occurred at that moment, which is now long since forgotten and, of course, ignored by the media is that “Broadcasters were said to be prepared to go no more than one year without these [Rangers v Celtic] showcase matches.”

In short the TV companies attempted to corrupt the legal proceedings and started to tell the clubs and leagues what they could and could not do.   Thankfully for the integrity of Scottish justice, such talk was set aside and so from having been second in the Premier League in 2004/5, Rangers then played in the fourth tier in 2005/6.  

I thought of this when contemplating the never-ending story of Manchester City, and wondering what would happen if they are found guilty of some of the 110 complaints against them.   Of course, we have often heard from Manchester C supporters to the effect that they won’t be found guilty, although the amount of evidence presented to support this contention has been slight, and we do normally ask for evidence.   But well, some people just don’t go in for evidence.

So we have no idea what is going on in the hearings, but I just wondered what would happen if they were relegated.by four tiers.  That would put them in National League.    Would their attendance remain full?  I suspect so, and would the TV companies continue to pay to film them?  Probably.

But would the sponsors want to be associated with a club found guilty of these offences and effectively denounced by the rest of the league?  Maybe so.   But what would have to stop would be the funding that had got them into trouble in the first place.  And perhaps most importantly, the club’s income would decline, and quite a few players would not want to play in the National League.

When all this happened to Rangers in Scotland in 2012 they played their way up through the league, stumbling only in their attempt to get out of the Championship at first go.  But we might also remember that at the time there was discussion among clubs with the thought that the structure of the league could somehow be changed to accommodate the club’s punishment.  But the clubs stood firm against that.

Certainly, demotion of this type, if Manchester City were to be found guilty (which is of course not a foregone conclusion) would need the co-operation of the league to which the club is demoted.  Manchester City playing in the Conference would mean they would be promoted out in the first season, which would effectively reduce the chances of all other clubs from gaining promotion to League Two.  But on the other hand the extra money from a game at the Etihad Stadium could be seen to be worth it.

But most sponsorship contracts have a rescission clause allow the contract to be cancelled in such a situation.  Some would still want their name associated with a guilty Man C but not all.  But then who knows how Yanmar, (who are or were the official tractor sponsor of the club) feel if the club that was found guilty of wholesale financial doping?

And there is the case of who would replace Manchester C in the Premier League?   One would guess it would be the defeated finalist of the play offs for the previous season.

But then what?   Sheikh Mansour is probably not used to anyone legally dubbing him a conman, a cheat and a fraud.  The club would probably appeal, but also it is possible that the sponsors might pull out anyway given that the aim of their sponsorship is to attract positive publicity.   And that raises the question about what happens to the City Group of clubs having success all over the world.  Would they feel their reputation is tarnished by their biggest member being found guilty of cheating?

Of course, it is all speculation. And given the way things go it is equally likely that Manchseter City will be found innocent or let off and given an apology, or maybe fined a meaningless couple of million quid for some minor transactions.  Then what?  Would they sue the Premier League for damage to their reputation?

Given that the original case enquiring into over 100 alleged offences is still running, this could go on for some time to come.  Which then raises another issue.  If they were to be found guilty would the clubs they beat to various trophies be awarded them instead?   Would Arsenal find themselves champions of 2022/23? 

13 Replies to “What would happen if Manchester City were found guilty?”

  1. Corruption and power rule.
    The league said date for hearing will be set soon. But how if the investigations are not complete. Could somethingbhave been possible pre judged? Sacre bleu..
    I have said before, nothing will happen to City. Too big too wealthy. Prem too timid to front up to the big boys.
    I am in my last decade of life i reckon and I have seen the best times of football. It disgusts me now. The corruption, disloyalty, ref standards, FIFA, EUFA, PGMO, PL. the lot stink

  2. Lest we dhould forget they have already been found ‘ guilty’by a European courti.avoided punishment on a technicality as understand it.
    The punishment should be more severe than Rangers( but that has set a precedent) not to mention In Europe juventus were demoted to serie B AND a 30 point deduction.Similarly Marseille were banned for corruption to Div2 1995/6.
    So what would be seen as fair punishment if the Prem/ FA don’t bottle it?
    It surely would have to be a) titles stripped or an * beside them.b) demotion at least 3 divisions c) a record fine & d) A transfer embargo,ban for the duration of time until reaching the prem.Should they so eventually.
    That would send a very clear message to ALL clubs who corrupt the system.
    But ,unfortunately,there is v,little chance of any of the above occurring.Money talks.So they say.

  3. An interesting article but i think you miss the most important part of this dreadful saga.

    Manchester City have already been found guilty of a number of charges by EUFA but of course it was all overcome with no punishment. MC appealed and the Appeal Court said they were guilty but the case was outside the time limits because it had taken so long so not guilty and no punishment.

    Guess what it happening in the case of the 115 (not 110) charges alledged by the FA? Nothing! This has been dragged out by MC’s world champion legal team so that after 2 years from the announcement of the charges we are no further forward. Why has the FA which has had years to get its act together not set a date for the hearing.

    The other aspect is that if MC are found guilty, of what we are not sure because the charges have not been detailed, how can any punishment be relevant to the clubs that have suffered. For example if they are disqualified from winning last season’s Premier League how does that benefit Arsenal who would then become winners at least a year too late to benefit from being Champions. This would, of course, apply to all the other clubs that are awarded belated titles.

    The whole thing smells of the corruption in football which is run by the World’s 2 most corrupt organisations – FIFA and EUFA.

  4. If Manky115 get off through further delaying tactics the only way that justice might be served is if the Premier, the Championship, Division 1 and Division 2 all leave their respective divisions and all re-form under a different name . While we’re there it’d be high time to ditch the PGMOL and employ referees from all over Britain and establish match officials not refereeing elsewhere during the winter break. The biggest issue even if all that were possible is what about Manky115 in Europe or indeed their women’s football team? This is going to get really messy, before we eventually clean up the game in England

  5. Why can’t the clubs vote to ditch the PGMOL? Do they have a contract with the Premier League and are there no performance standards if such a contract exists?

  6. As far as I am concerned, I don’t believe Ctiy being relegated would harm the PL.
    Would suddenly viewers stop watching games ? Stop going to games ?
    I can’t see this happening. Are City THE magnet of the PL ? Not at all.
    There are enough rivalries and big games without them.
    And most of the so-called supporters are fans not supporters, are outside of England. They’d switch allegiances like you switch channels.

    Sure there would be some sort of an outcry. But I can’t believe it would be more then crocodile tears.
    They ought to be relegated to the bottom league with all the financial constraints of clubs in that league.
    Players could get out of their contract like any worker when his company goes bust.
    And all trophies since the offenses started ought to be stripped for club, management and players.
    This way, any club wanting to play monkey games would be thinking harder before doing so and players would be a little more attentive to their destinations.

    There is no reason the trophies/places ought not be stripped. And no reason why the clubs who ‘suffered’ (no title, no european football, relegation) would not be allowed to sue for compensatory damages. After all the owners do have the means to pay them.

    But I guess this is not going to happen as money rules the world and people with more money then others just do as they please.

  7. I am least bothered on what would befall Man City.
    Am just looking forward to 2 EPL trophies being rewarded to us.
    Ta very much !

  8. @ Tony – I may be naive in believing that kicking out those old arse lickers , and introducing a personage of Pierluigi Corlina ‘s calibre , would set things right .
    Give him 5 years to transform them refs into a decent bunch of blokes ! He ought to be given free rein to chop and change , and bring back the pride of being a ref .
    All it needs someone with firm conviction and balls of steel .
    Who is to say it will not work? We already have the alternate !

  9. What webs we weave! The little people rarely know what is going on in the halls of power. Man City, Mr. Trump…name your your well connected defendant (often a nation state)…how often are there deals in the background because they have some sort of unseen leverage?

  10. Morning all of you. Bet today is going to be a long day for most of you !

    Rarely do I post on here these days but do still read Tony’s articles alas this one was missed when initially posted as we have been away on a cruise. Terrible weather and clearly based on my days being laid up with sea sickness I wasn’t born to be a sailor.

    Anyways on this article yes I am late to the party but want to add a couple of points to the debate.

    First the Rangers situation was not close to the issues facing Man City as they , Rangers , actually went into liquidation having first going into administration and had they been able to agree a CVA ( Company Voluntary Arrangement ) then almost certainly they would have not been relegated at all but, just as in English/ Welsh football any club re forming following liquidation has to find a league to accept them and in Rangers case they aimed for the moon but as Tony points out the clubs weren’t buying that.

    It’s not helpful or indeed really relevant to refer to the UEFA charges that ended up at CAS simply because the way in which CAS work ( under the jurisdiction of Swiss Law) and time barring in effect meant that the adjudicators weren’t able to draw conclusions from City not engaging with the process nor did UEFA really complete their investigations had they then it’s possible that CAS would have reached the same conclusion as UEFA but the arrogances of UEFA meant that they didn’t join or the dots which led CAS ruling that they didn’t find or couldn’t rubber stamp UEFAs decisions save those re not assisting with UEFAs investigation and that’s why City were fined and not re the charges regarding inflating income/ disguised equity.

    Without knowing what evidence the PL have it’s impossible to reach any informed conclusions but the allegations are far wider than UEFAs . Some city supporters ( including the supposed City expert) are suggesting that the PL have nothing that of course may be the case but without sight of the evidence we have no idea if the league have a smoking gun or indeed how the IC will draw conclusions from Cities failure to engage with the process .

    I to a degree have focused my view as to what will happen based on three core areas. The first revolves around the charges linked to the allegations around Managers wages not being accounted for in accord with FA/ PL rules similarly the allegations re players wages. The third around non engagement with the process.

    Save the non engagement charges which based on what is in the public domain pretty much seem to be fact the other two will be reasonably easy to judge and here there will be little to no mitigation should the charges be proven. A points deduction would be applied and based on both Luton and Swindon’s history and again based on the fact that these two clubs like City didn’t flag up the issues then there is a parallel.

    As I say we have no idea what the PL have nor how the IC will view the matter but it’s worth mentioning that CAS three man panel didn’t agree unanimously when they heard the matter nor is the way the PL is formed the same which could be key .

    I will throw in a simple comment re the issues that Chelsea have. The first is re the claim re payments made directly by RA well again we know little save what the press have reported backed up partially by Masters who has confirmed that an investigation is on going . I find it odd that it’s taken so long to conclude those investigations. The PSR issues again are well reported but like me all observers have absolutely no idea what Chelsea’s PSR submissions look like nor do any of us have a clue what, following RAS sale, what if any concessions the governing authorities agreed to.

    As for the sale of the hotels and indeed the alleged sale of the training ground the PL rules appear to allow these type of transactions ( as to if they should is a whole different debate) whereas the EFL clearly forbid such transactions and based on the fact that UEFA in their licence process only say that “ profit” must be excluded then I am far from sure that selling an asset based on book value won’t be allowed particularly as the FFP changes now in place tend to focus on squad costs , debt and overdue payables. Time will tell on all this.

  11. I featured in the England’s LD senior national squad from 2012 to 2014 and just before our international tournament the FA cut our funding which meant my first and only international tournament was cancelled
    We had training g camps at St George’s Park
    Played two national friendlies against Wales and Northern Ireland in the build up to Brazil 2014
    And a few weeks before we were due to fly the English FA withdrew funding and the team was dissolved the same year
    So long story short if you hold faith in the English FA that they will banish one of the biggest earners in the Premier league you’re all gunna be sad and upset cos pur FA is just as corrupt as fifa and uefa

  12. TGS I was sorry to read of what happened to you, which is inexcusable. But I think you are somewhat mistaken. The FA (on which I agree with you) is not investigating Manchester City at all. It’s the Premier League.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *