Earlier today, the Premier League charged Manchester City with “a number of alleged breaches of the Premier League Rules” in regard to the club’s financial dealings. You can read the Premier League’s statement here.
If found guilty, Manchester City could be fined, docked points, suspended, or even expelled from the Premier League. Manchester City are owned by City Football Group, an organization with an interest in 13 clubs including New York City FC. CFG own NYCFC outright.
Right now it’s unclear what these charges will mean for New York City FC. Last week, Forbes valued NYCFC at $800 million, making it the fourth-most-valuable club in MLS. But the club had an operating loss of an estimated $12 million in 2022 according to Forbes, and rely on CFG for financial support. Any punishment levied against Manchester City could send shockwaves through CFG, and choke off the funds NYCFC need to compete in MLS.
Writing for the New York Times, Tariq Panja called the charges brought against Manchester City “unprecedented in their scale.” The charges allege that the club broke league rules more than 100 times dating back to the 2009/2010 season. Manchester City came under the control of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan through the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008, and is now owned by City Football Group, which was established in 2013. The wide-reaching charges essentially accuse the club of cooking the books over the course of nine seasons in order to hide illegally excessive payouts while obscuring Manchester City’s sources of revenue in violation of UEFA’s financial fair play rules.
In his article for the Guardian, Paul McInnes wrote that “The six-times Premier League champions have been accused of failing to give ‘a true and fair view of the club’s financial position,’ of failing to ‘include full details’ of player and manager remuneration, of failing to comply with rules regarding financial fair play and failing to co-operate in a Premier League investigation that has concluded after more than four years.”
Manchester City issued a brief statement in response that expressed surprise at the charges, and welcomes a “review of this matter by an independent Commission.”
In fact, that is exactly what will happen. “The Premier League said the rules violations had been referred to an independent commission and would be heard in a confidential hearing, according to league rules,” according to Panja.
In 2020, Manchester City were banned from the Champions League for two years by UEFA because of financial rules violations, but the ban was overturned after the club challenged the timeline of the case. Because UEFA took more than five years to issue their ruling, “the club escaped the harshest punishments levied against it” according to Panja.
According to Martyn Ziegler, the chief sports correspondent for the Times of London, Manchester City will have to comply with the findings of the independent commission, and won't be allowed to file an appeal.
Man City latest: under Premier League rules the club will not be able to appeal any sanction to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (which overturned the UEFA ban)— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) February 6, 2023
Here is the full statement issued by Manchester City:
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.