Manchester City accused of breaching financial rules
By Tony Attwood
As our article (linked above) from June last year shows, complaints about the behaviour of Manchester City have been flying around for a while. But now, just as we are all puzzling over how Chelsea are getting away with spending more than the rest of Europe put together on transfers in January, so the Premier League has decided to charge Manchester City with over 100 cases of breaching its financial rules.
As the Guardian points out, “The independent commission which will consider the charges could recommend that City be expelled from competition, suspended or docked points if it finds the club guilty. Those sanctions are listed in the Premier League’s handbook but a commission is clear to apply any punishment it considers appropriate.”
Which does of course also mean that even if Manchester City are found guilty they could simply be fined – which would mean nothing to them since the club is owned by a group (the Abu Dhabi United Group, Silver Lake, China Media Capital and the CITIC Group ) said to be worth about $22 billion. So they are not short of the readies.
The club is accused of failing to give “a true and fair view of the club’s financial position”, of failing to “include full details” of player and manager remuneration, of “failing to comply with rules regarding financial fair play” and “failing to co-operate in a Premier League investigation.”
Which is, by and large, quite a bit of failing.
Of course, for the UK media that has utterly refused to engage in discussion about corruption and money in football, this is all a bit of a shock. But for most of Europe it will just be another financial insight, following quickly on the revelations that Fifa has been loaning money to parts of the Swiss state (see What the media won’t tell you about football 5 if you missed it).
Meanwhile, Spanish football’s finances have been falling apart on a daily basis. One of many stories we covered was that of The Spanish League selling part of itself And you might also enjoy Barcelona’s attempt to fool the financial regulator.
But of course, the media’s view is always that this is just Johnny Foreigner, who by being foreign, is totally untrustworthy. It wouldn’t happen in England. But it looks like maybe it just has. Or at least enough to be worth charging Manchester C with some rule breaches.
And if we go back a bit, one of the factors that has certainly encouraged the League to get engaged with the subject was the failure of Uefa to prosecute Manchester City properly in the Court of Arbitration for failing “to cooperate with Uefa authorities.” Uefa screwed up (some suggest deliberately) by taking too long to bring the case to the CAS, and so was ruled “out of time”.
City said the decision was “validation of the club’s position and the body of evidence that it was able to present”. Uefa didn’t mind Manchester City’s make-believe because its error in taking too long to go to court suggested in itself there was something funny going on. (Although to be quite clear I don’t have any evidence of that).
However, for an extra insight, you might like There’s a bit in the latest Uefa fiasco that the media is missing.
Elsewhere, it was also suggested that Roberto Mancini had been in receipt of a second, secret, salary while with Manchester City. Manchester C deny any wrongdoing.
Going a step further the Telegraph is now saying that “Manchester City have been charged with more than 100 breaches of the Premier League’s Financial Fair Play regulations following a four-year investigation.” The key issues seem to be “player and manager contracts and the remuneration declared in their financial accounts,” and “failing to cooperate with the investigation, which has been carried out by an independent commission.”
Of course, the most likely outcome is that the League will back off, being concerned about taking on an organisation that has many times the level of resources that the League as a whole has. So having rattled the sabre the league could reach an agreement with Manchester City to issue a reprimand and leave it at that. Although it does have the power to deduct points or indeed relegate the club if it ever held its nerve.
We shall see.
- Arsenal v Newcastle: the team and league positons AFTER the game.
- Arsenal v Newcastle: injuries, yellow cards and recent form
- Arsenal v Newcastle: the referee who just doesn’t oversee home wins
- Newcastle United’s weakness revealed and what they could do. Arsenal v Newcastle United.
- Arsenal v Newcastle: the tackles, fouls and yellow cards compared