Manchester City, the “noisy neighbor” of the super rich, has become the overlord of the Premier League. But they now face an uncertain future, which includes the eventual threat of relegation. Abu Dhabi-backed Manchester City were accused by England’s top flight of breaching more than 100 financial regulations between 2009/10 and 2017/18 and were handed over to an independent committee on Monday.
The defending champions have also been accused of failing to cooperate with the Premier League investigation. Clubs face a range of possible penalties, including reprimands, point deductions and even expulsion from the Premier League.
City, which topped Deloitte’s wealth ranking of the world’s richest clubs last month, appeared confident they could weather the storm, insisting there was “irrefutable” evidence to support their argument. It’s not the first time financial troubles have been in the spotlight for the club, which has transformed on and off the field following its takeover by Abu Dhabi United in 2008.
City were fined 60 million euros ($64 million) in 2014 for breaching UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations. In February 2020, European football’s governing body banned the club from UEFA competitions for two years for “serious breaches of financial fair play”, but the sanction was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport later that year.
Last year, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola made it clear that he would leave the club if he found out he had been cheated by the club’s owners – a worst-case scenario for City, who have won four of their last five Premier League games. Champions under his leadership.
The Times’ chief football writer Henry Winter said City faced “allegations of misconduct on an industrial scale…if substantiated, the ensuing punishment should be aimed at deterring those who believe they can replicate City’s playbook.”
But Simon Chadwick, professor of sports and geopolitical economics at SKEMA Business School in Paris, said broader problems were at play. He noted that the UK government will soon publish a white paper – a consultation document that could form the basis of legislation – which is expected to support the creation of an independent football regulator.
“The Premier League is caught between a rock and a hard place as it feels pressure from the government to take a stronger approach to finances and governance, but it will also be acutely aware that the government is effectively letting it do its dirty work for itself. .it,” Chadwick said.
Football finance expert Kieran Maguire has also highlighted the political context for the government’s reform of football management.
“The Premier League is against an independent football governing body, I don’t want to go down a huge conspiracy line, but the Premier League wants to demonstrate to all interested parties that it is capable of keeping order within itself,” he told the BBC.
Neither Maguire nor Chadwick see City facing the realistic prospect of relegation, with Chadwick suggesting a compromise is the most likely outcome of a long process. “Without undermining the UK’s competitive advantage in football, there is no signal to Abu Dhabi, the US, Saudi Arabia and others that the UK will impose tough rules on overseas investors,” he said.
So will there be wider ramifications for Qatar-owned cities and effectively state-backed clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain? “This is a battle of our time, a process in which domestic governing bodies try to impose rules on multinational organisations, often with the support or help of state governments,” Chadwick said. Emphasize the importance of foreign cash in American English games.
“The UK government and the Premier League cannot afford to provoke, confront and reject potential foreign investment during these very difficult economic times, especially post-Brexit.”
He believes the end result of City’s case will “show the capitulation of the Premier League and the British government”.
Chadwick added: “But the way it will ultimately work will be for the government and the Premier League to protect their assets and uphold certain principles of good governance.”
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