Is the Premier League about to pull out of the fight with Man City?



By Sir Hardly Anyone

On 6 February 2023 the Independent website announced “Man City charged with over 100 breaches of financial rules after four-year investigation”.  The rest of the media were all diving in as well.   Since then… well, nothing much.  Manchester City deny it all, and have brought in a top team of legal experts to fight their case.

Now the fact that there was a four-year investigation suggests that the offences relate to issues from around 2019 on to 2023. A list of the offences is here.

Of course, none of us has any idea what the result of the enquiry is going to be, so everything that follows is assumption.  But since most football reporting is based on fantasy, I’d say basing an article on assumptions is still one-up on most of what we get.  So here goes…

Not guilty on all counts.  

In such circumstances Manchester C could let matters pass and say “told you so” and carry on as before.  It took three seasons for the new owners to take the club to the top three subsequent to the takeover, compared with 34 years outside the top three before the takeover.  Since then they have been in the top three for 12 of the last 13 years.

Clearly therefore it is a format that works, and which if Man C are found not guilty, would be considered legal, so we could expect maybe half a dozen or more clubs to be taken over and operated in the same way.  Within five years most of the PL could be owned by clubs backed by the sort of money Manchester City have been able to call on. 

They would then change the finance rules and any clubs left being run in the traditional “make a profit” way, would be ousted.  I suspect the rest of Europe would not like it either, and they would kick out the Premier League which would end up playing in international competitions with teams fro the USA.

There would be two football worlds.  England and USA, and the rest.

Guilty but it was all such a long time ago

In English law, there is a statute of limitations which is six years in most cases – which means generally one can’t prosecute a person or company  six years after the offence.  But this is a civil case so much depends on what is in the contract of agreement between clubs and the league.  The case started in 2023 and relates to cases from 2019 onward, so even if there is a statute of limitations with the agreement between the league and the clubs, it seems unlikely that it could apply in this case which began at most four years after the alleged offences could have begun.

And if each breach is a separate case then each breach has its own period of limitations.  Probably a tough argument for Man C to win..

Guilty but we want to appeal

In civil cases appeals are quite normal and Everton and Forest appealed.  Presumably, this could extend the hearings for another year given that the case has already been running a year.

Guilty and that’s the end

The cases so far have resulted in points deductions for the season in which the hearing took place.  Everton were deducted 10 points, reduced to six on appeal for a single offence.   Manchester City are charged with 115 offences so if found guilty just 15 counts and deducted six points for each that would see them on -90 points.  They might get those back through playing next season but still be relegated when they end the season on zero points.

On the other hand given the number of changes against them, if found guilty all round that could lead to a Manchester City penalty of 1150 points reduced to 690 points on appeal.

It’s hard to work out how many relegations that would equate to, but if applied at once it would relegate Manchester City to the Northern Premier League or thereabouts.

That sounds ridiculous although again we should remember that Rangers were demoted to the fourth tier of Scottish football in 2012, despite a threat from the TV companies that they would pull out of their deal if the league dared demote Rangers.

Certainly, the PL would not want to be seen to be soft on Manchester City for fear of other top clubs simply giving notice and leaving the league to set up, well, either a Super League in Europe or just in England – with Manchester City in it. 

In such a case there is a chance that those supporters who opposed Super League before might be moved enough by the scale of Manchester City’s crimes (alleged so far of course since there is no verdict yet) that they might comply with effectively leaving Manchester City to play in League Two or the Northern Premier League.

There is also the case of what would happen to the other City group of clubs.  For example this season we have been noting the progress of another City Group club: Girona.


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Real Madrid 34 27 6 1 74 22 52 87
2 Girona 34 23 5 6 73 42 31 74
3 Barcelona 34 22 7 5 70 43 27 73
4 Atletico Madrid 34 21 4 9 63 39 24 67

14 Replies to “Is the Premier League about to pull out of the fight with Man City?”

  1. What a loaad of tosh… like all penny journalists you love to make stuff up. I hope you have the good grace to apologise, and leave any pretensions of being a proper journalist behind. Biased (acceptable due to this being an Arsenal website, but very much living in a fantasy land where Arsenal can spend more than net spend than City over the last 5 years, and yet we are the ones being called

  2. @Pete D,

    without mentioning your total disrespect, your statement is plainly wrong. Arsenal have not run afoul of FFP and financial rules. Full stop. City ran afoul for years, and was able to buy trophies with it. The big outlays came well before 5 years ago.

    And considering what happens with Everton, Forresl, Leicester because they did not respect the rules, there is no damn way City can just sit there and not be punished IF they violated said rules.

    If that happens, why should any athlete who is founf guilty of doping 2 years after hie/her medal be stripped of it as is the case now ?
    But I guess this does not bother you. Invective seems to be the only way you argue.

  3. Man City should be banned from the premier league for at least two years to send out the correct message to teams dragging out the not guilty plea. Otherwise if their is not a larger penalty for a not guilty plea to a guilty plea then every team is going to plea not guilty and drag things along if the sentence is the same either way. 6 points deducted per infringement if pleading guilty and found guilty or 12 points per infringement if pleading not guilty( lying) and found guilty. Spread over two years or relegated two divisions down to the bottom of the first division. That only sounds fair, I think everyone would agree.

  4. Oh my days, it’s bad enough that you clearly show profound envy and hatred for City, we can almost let that slide. BUT you genuinely haven’t got a scooby about this FFP fight have you? For a start it’s dated from 2009 to 2017, the last 7 years are NOT in this equation so why you talk about them is, well, mind numbing. You pretend to try to be balanced but fail abismaly. City will walk away from this PL fight as clean as a clean thing being clean on a clean day lololol. Toxic, bitter, envious, angry, nasty, pretentious gunner w’ker

  5. Absolutely hilarious. City haven’t been found guilty of anything by the premier league. We’ll see what happens .Girona are a great example of a brilliantly run club, no financial issues whatsoever., but don’t let that get in the way.

    Arsenal have been financed by oligarchs and sponsored by Rwanda 🤣🤣😂😂. You couldn’t make it up really.

    Girona transfer spending for 2023/24 is:
    £19,580,000 of player purchases
    £15,752,000 of player sales


  6. So now we know that City and Girona, all belonging to the same owner, will be in the CL.
    Wanna bet UEFA will put it’s tail between its legs and find some loophole that makes it possible ?
    They’ll take the 2 RedBull teams as example and precedent and believe some statement from the owners saying that definitely they have absolutely no say on the finances and day to day running of the clubs and validate it.

    An ESL would definitely be a better league.

    PS : wanna bet what Team Guardiola will coach when he leaves City… ?

  7. In case people are wondering why the PL are taking so long to approve the sale of Everton to 777 Partners, it may be that the PL feel that they are in an awkward position.

    Josimar has reported on the latest developments in Belgium which could cast doubt on the likelihood of the Everton sale proceeding.

    Repo Men

  8. Here is a Wikipedia page which you may find instructive:-

    This article does not make for comfortable reading, when considering the possible damage that could be suffered following the collapse of companies involved in MCO schemes.

    Interestingly, the various football associations and federations do not seem to see this as a problem.

  9. Man City fans are becoming as obnoxious as Chelsea fans. I didn’t think that was possible.

  10. If they do get relegated, wouldnt that be unfair on other teams that were fighting against relegation, that potentially one of them could have stayed up if the ruling didn’t take so long?

  11. Arsenal have been financed by oligarchs.

    Well Getal , which oligarch actually put money into Arsenal ?

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