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Why Manchester City’s FFP Investigation Looks more like a Witch-hunt

What is reality and what is media hoopla?

Manchester City v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images

As the case against Manchester City continues over alleged breaches of the Premier League’s Financial Fair Play rules, fingers remain crossed in expectation of its outcome.

However, despite the guilty verdict handed out to Everton recently, the accusations against City are rather unprecedented in the English game.

Like the former City striker Mario Balotelli will say, ‘why always City?’

A clear conscience may fear no accusation under normal conditions. But the circumstances Manchester City have found themselves in are hardly normal.

Fierce criticism towards the club has continuously come from several quarters over the years, from the leadership of Spanish football, Germany’s biggest clubs Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund and even UEFA. In England, opposition fans, managers and other club faithfuls have hardly hidden their disapproval or dislike of the City project.

Some have likened it to a newcomer taking over the seat when offered a small portion of it and subsequently pushing the original occupants to the background. It’s no secret that the club’s success in the Premier League over the years has been viewed negatively by other traditional sides who held sway while City were still in the background.

City are on a journey and don’t look ready to stop anytime soon. If anything, the club is getting bigger and with the addition of the treble last season, the future is looking even more scary.

It should be noted that most of the officials governing football and even those in the media are fans of other clubs. So in a world where success can attract enemies, it provides the perfect breeding ground for these officials and journalists to look for every way possible to paint City black in order to bring down the club.

There has been this continuous narrative that everything the club doors is a result of money. Each time they win a trophy, the rationalization is who wouldn’t when you pump in so much money. As far as they are concerned, for City success has not been about hard work and unrelenting effort behind the scenes. It has been about money.

Hence, the whole FFP accusations against City look more like a witch-hunt than a genuine attempt to really grow football. That’s especially so when considering the fact that FFP was meant to protect clubs from taking financial decisions that endanger their very survival.

With punitive measures already suggested that could include stripping the club of all its Premier League titles as well as relegation to the lower leagues, this seems more like an attempt to bring the club to its knees than really making the game better.

But this is not new to City. In fact, if anything, the club has been prepared for a time like this. Having previously fought and won against UEFA, the club is ready to fight and win again.

According to its rules, the Premier League reviews clubs’ accounts every year. With City’s accusations dating back to 2009 it is surprising that the league body has not deemed it fit to put forward these accusations in each of the previous years.

How so when the club is accused of breaking as much as 115 rules? Was the league body asleep all the while as the rules were being broken year after year?

Does that mean the Premier League did not review the club’s accounts in each of those years for more than a decade now?

While UEFA introduced FFP rules at the start of the 2011/12 season, the Premier League introduced its own version of FFP, known as the profitability and sustainability rules in the 2014/15 campaign. This is almost a decade in.

It’s good that the club has stated it has irrefutable evidence of its innocence. Like the UEFA case, that will be proven during the trial.