Premier League English

Guardiola had already threatened to quit Man City as Premier League side charged

Manchester City’s erstwhile manager supremo Pep Guardiola had previously threatened to depart the club if they are found to have breached financial fairplay regulations, insisting that he has been giving them his full support based fully on trust.

The Premier League has confirmed its referring of over 100 alleged breaches of its financial regulations to an independent commission after a four-year investigation has finally prompted the League to refer City to the independent commission for alleged breaches between 2009 and 2018. Unsurprisingly, City are hotly refuting the charges, saying they are ‘surprised’ by the allegations and are adamant they are supported by a ‘body of irrefutable evidence’.

Guardiola – having led the club to four Premier League titles, has backed the Etihad Stadium hierarchy from his first day in the summer of 2016 – had previously insisted that he would quit the club if City were ever found to have breached financial rules.

He said about the investigation last year: “I said to them: ‘If you lie to me, the day after I am not here. I will be out and I will not be your friend any more. I put my faith in you because I believe you 100 per-cent from day one and I defend the club because of that.’”

City have been quick to deny the allegations and said they welcome the review by the independent commission so that the matter can be ‘put to rest once and for all’.

A club statement read: “Manchester City FC is surprised by the issuing of these alleged breaches of the Premier League Rules, particularly given the extensive engagement and vast amount of detailed materials that the EPL has been provided with.

“The Club welcomes the review of this matter by an independent Commission, to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence that exists in support of its position. As such we look forward to this matter being put to rest once and for all.”

In their own statement released on Monday morning, the Premier League said City breached rules requiring them to provide “accurate financial information that gives a true and fair view of the club’s financial position”. This information covered club revenue, which automatically includes sponsorship income and operating costs.

They have also accused City of failing to cooperate since the investigation began in December 2018. Within its purview the independent commission can impose a punishment that ranges from a fine, a points deduction, or even a full expulsion from the Premier League.

In 2020, UEFA ruled that City had committed “serious breaches” of Financial Fair Play regulations between 2012 and 2016. However, a two-year ban from European competitions was later lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport later that year.

On Friday, Guardiola lashed out at clubs who had called for their suspension in a reference to Chelsea’s £550m transfer blitz. The City boss said: “”What Chelsea have done is none of my business. We know what we are working to. What Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, United … [have done] without good players you have to spend.

“Now the market is… wow… what they do is not my business. There are regulations, I don’t forget, eight or nine teams send a letter [for City] to be banned [from the Champions League]. We are the fifth team in net spend.”