clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

City Accused: What the Premier League Allegations Mean for MCFC

Manchester City v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Manchester City Football Club and its owners City Football Group have been referred to an Independent Commission by the Premier League on 113 separate charges. The allegations stretch all the way back to the 2009/10 season and cover the time period up to the end of the 2017/18 campaign. Here, we will take some time to lay out what prompted the investigation, what the possible consequences are, and what the likely outcome will be.

The genesis for the investigation that lead to City being referred to the commission comes from the same report that sparked UEFA’s investigation into Manchester City back in 2019. UEFA eventually banned City from competing in European Cup Competitions for two years and fined the Club €30 million. City appealed the decision to the Court for Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which overturned the match ban and reduced the fine to €10 million. Much of the reasoning for reducing City’s punishment was due to the bulk of the alleged offences occurring more than five years prior to the case being brought.


Manchester City will not be able to fall back on that technicality this time as the Premier League has no such time-barring rule for offences. The EPL investigation has been going on since the German newspaper Der Spiegel published a slate of emails that had been obtained through hacking City’s email servers. The emails allegedly contained evidence of financial violations including using foreign sponsorship deals to get around the limits on club investment from ownership. The good news for City is that the club was able to successfully refute the contents of many of the emails which they claimed had been illegally obtained and published by Der Spiegel out of context.

The charges against Manchester City vary from underreporting the compensation paid to former manager Roberto Mancini, to not adhering to rules regarding profitability and sustainability, to not fully cooperating with the investigation. City used the latter tactic in its fight against UEFA. In fact, had CAS not found that City obstructed UEFA’s investigation, they might well have gotten the entire fine wiped out. So what penalties do the club face this time?

Under rule, W.51 of the Premier League Handbook 2022/23, the commission has a good amount of discretion at its disposal in terms of punishment. If City are found guilty they could be expelled from the competition. Obviously, this would be devastating for the club. It would likely lead to a mass exodus of the top players and could even cause the manager to seek new surroundings. However unlikely, should this be City’s punishment, it would see the club playing in the Championship. Who’s ready for away days at QPR?

Queens Park Rangers v Swansea City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images

The commission could decide to deduct points from Man City. Juventus recently suffered a 15-point reduction for its financial issues with Serie A. The reduction has Juve now sitting 13th in the league. One would expect City to suffer a similar fate should they receive the same treatment as the Italian giants. For context, City would sit 8th in the Premier League if you took 15 points from their total right now. They would still be in contention for European football, and they would still be above Chelsea FC and Liverpool.

Another scenario would see City stripped of the three league titles that they won during the investigation period. Manchester City would no longer hold the trophy for 2012, 2014, and 2018. The 2014 title would then presumably belong to Liverpool, with the 2012 and 2018 honours going to Manchester United. Certainly, a little insult added to injury.

Manchester United Premier League Winners Parade Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The final punishment would be a fine. The severity of that fine is anybody’s guess. I might think that it would be well north of the €30 million levied by UEFA. Perhaps it could even be as much as £50-£75 million. As much money as that is, City could easily afford it. With that in mind, any of these punishment options could also be combined.

How will it all shake out? First, I think it is important to state that I feel it is unlikely that the commission will move quickly enough to affect the current Premier League season. In fact, I believe this case will drag out for some time. In the end, I expect that City will do enough in defence that they will successfully refute most of the charges. The result will likely be another fine which will stem from the club’s lack of cooperation in the original EPL investigation.