Premier League

Man City’s FFP breaches: Explained

Life as a Manchester City fan has been pretty rosy for the past decade, and

the arrival of Erling Haaland was only supposed to perpetuate the club’s Premier League dominance.

But the 2022/23 campaign hasn’t been going smoothly for Pep Guardiola’s side despite

the Norwegian’s proficiency, with a new challenger emerging in the form of Arteta’s Arsenal,

and there’s now a heap load of trouble for the club off the field.

City have been charged with the Premier League for alleged breaches of (FFP)

Financial Fair Play rules, and it’s now down to an independent commission to analyse

and investigate the findings before deciding on any possible sanctions.

Here’s what we know so far.

What have Man City been charged with?

The Premier League have charged Manchester City for breaking their FFP rules around

100 times in a nine-year period between 2009/10 and 2017/18.

The citizen are alleged to have provided the Premier League with inaccurate financial

information, while they did not disclose the financial remuneration of their managers

over a four-year period. One of the managers in question could have been getting paid

much more than the club was letting on.

City also failed to comply with UEFA’s FFP regulations for five years and have not co-operated with the Premier League during their lengthy investigation.

Have Manchester City responded to the charges?

Responding to the Premier League’s announcement, City released a statement of their own expressing their surprise at being charged.

“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 have said in response.

“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.”

How could Manchester City be punished for FFP breaches?

Pep Guardiola has a very unwelcome headache to deal with / Michael Regan/GettyImages
Pep Guardiola has a very unwelcome headache to deal with / Michael Regan/GettyImages


City’s case will now be heard by an independent commission before any decisions are made on possible sanctions.

But it’s clear that the allegations made against City are serious, and there’s a number of outcomes depending on how the independent commission interprets the evidence presented.

Among the possible sanctions are:

  • Suspend a club from playing league matches
  • Points deductions
  • Recommend to the board that league matches be replayed
  • Recommend to the board that the league expels the respondent club
  • Order compensation
  • Cancel or refuse registration of players
  • Conditional punishment
  • Order the club to pay the costs
  • Make such other order as it thinks fit

Has a club ever been relegated for FFP breaches?

There’s currently no precedent in place regarding Manchester City’s alleged breaches of Financial Fair Play, but relegation from the Premier League is one of the sanctions that could be imposed.

Another high-profile case during the 2022/23 season saw Italian giants Juventus handed a 15-point deduction for financial irregularities – that was stripped from them immediately in Serie A – but they crucially avoided expulsion from the league.

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Expert analysis

Leading sports lawyer and partner at Leathes Prior, Dan Chapman, told 90min the following about the allegations levelled at City:

“The Premier League are not bound by time-limits which prevent them from charging in relation to alleged offences that go as far back as 2008,  though one can fully expect Manchester City’s legal defence to make much of the historic nature of many of the allegations. 

“If these allegations were upheld to their highest level, the Premier League have a wide range of sanctions available to them – ranging from a fine to points deductions through to the ultimate sanction of expulsion from the Premier League. There is very little precedent for a case of this nature and gravity under Premier League rules – though, under EFL rules, one can consider that QPR were fined circa £42m (which subsequently resulted in a settlement being reached between the club and the EFL).  

“These charges would if upheld, lead to sanctions from the Premier League alone. They are separate from the UEFA charges which have already been dealt with, which prompted the Premier League to conduct its own investigation.  Manchester City have already been sanctioned by UEFA,  and it is worth remembering that in that case the initial €30m fine and two-year ban from the Champions League was reduced on appeal to a fine of €10m only. On appeal, the fact that many of the charges were historic was very relevant, as UEFA had a five-year time limit at play.  In theory, the Premier League have no such constraints.”

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