The English Premier League (EPL) has charged Manchester City with a staggering number of over 100 violations of its financial regulations that took place between the years 2009 to 2018. The charge comes after a comprehensive investigation that took place over four years.
This is a critical development that has the potential to not only influence the current title race but also to significantly alter the landscape of the game. The outcome of this situation could lead to dire consequences, including relegation and retrospective penalties. In the worst-case scenario, the very existence of Manchester City as a club could be threatened.
Here are 5 key points from EPL’s biggest scandal:
1. Has Manchester City Lost The 2022-23 Title?
Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, Manchester City may have already lost one title as a result of this inquiry, the coveted English Premier League (EPL) crown for the current season.
While Manchester City currently trails Arsenal by five points, having played one more game, they were widely considered the favourites to defend their championship title.
The sudden and unexpected news of the investigation is likely to have a significant impact on the club and its personnel, causing every player, including manager Pep Guardiola, to reconsider their future.
The club faces a demanding schedule with games coming in quick succession, including the resumption of the Champions League next week. This situation, however, is a formidable distraction that Manchester City could have done without.
2. Will Pep Guardiola Step Out?
The court case could prove to be a prolonged and drawn-out process, with the potential to extend for months or even years, exacerbating the adverse impact on Manchester City as the proceedings continue.
As transfer windows pass, current players may become uncertain about renewing their contracts, and potential new signings may avoid joining the club.
The recent defeat to Tottenham indicates that there may be issues within the team, but the root cause of the problem lies in the management and administration of the club.
One person who is likely to be significantly affected by the situation is Manchester City’s manager, Pep Guardiola. He has already stated that “If anyone is lying to me, I’m not here tomorrow and they’re not my friend,” highlighting the high stakes involved.
With the Champions League already presenting a challenge for the club, this ongoing court case could further undermine Guardiola’s position, even before a verdict is reached.
3. Manchester City Will Lose Even If They Win
In the eyes of many within the football community, Manchester City has already suffered a loss… of respect, regardless of the outcome of the investigation. Even if they were to emerge victorious, it would be a challenging task to regain the respect they have lost.
Any legal triumph, similar to the one achieved when overturning UEFA’s ruling through a technicality argued by a highly-compensated legal team, will likely be viewed as hollow.
The football world, both in England and throughout Europe, has long held the belief that Manchester City will stop at nothing to achieve their objectives, employing the best players, managers, and legal representation.
While the club has demonstrated impressive skill and finesse on the field, they are accused of disregarding regulations and standards off the field.
This has resulted in a situation where the club’s exceptional football play is overshadowed by questionable actions, making it difficult for neutral observers to support them.
Regardless of any potential victory, they may achieve in court, the negative perception of Manchester City will persist, and it is unclear if even efforts to improve their image through “sports washing” will be successful in removing this stain.
4. Will The “Aguero Moment” Survive?
The English Premier League (EPL) possesses the authority to enforce penalties such as relegation, point deductions, and the revocation of previous titles if Manchester City is found guilty of violating its financial rules.
However, imposing retrospective punishments would only further harm the league’s reputation, which is already tarnished by this investigation.
The “Aguero Moment,” in which Manchester City scored twice in injury time to secure the title from Manchester United, is widely considered one of the greatest moments in EPL history.
Erasing such iconic moments from the league’s history would cast doubt on the legitimacy of previous achievements and ultimately compromise the credibility of the league.
5. Is This The End Of Manchester City?
It is highly unlikely that Manchester City will face oblivion as a result of the charges brought against them by the English Premier League (EPL). While the possibility exists that the EFL may not want to admit them into the Championship, it is unlikely to occur. A more likely outcome would be the imposition of a points deduction, which could impede their ability to win future titles but would not lead to their relegation.
However, this may not be considered a severe enough punishment for the over 100 alleged breaches of financial rules that were committed by the club between 2009 and 2018.
The consequences of the case will have far-reaching implications for the EPL and for football as a whole. Any outcome that falls short of relegation may be seen as lenient by some, but the EPL will likely weigh the impact of such a decision on its reputation. Manchester City is considered a premier club in the league, and the EPL will have to carefully consider its actions.
The case also raises the possibility of a scenario similar to that of Rangers FC in Scotland, where the original club was forced to close and a new one was established in a lower tier of football.
Regardless of the outcome, it is clear that the situation will have negative consequences for all parties involved, and for the sport as a whole.