For years, City have bossed the Prem with their willingness to splash cash around. That willingness was boosted by an ownership open to do whatever it takes to win. Now, it’s all threatened to fall apart, as the Prem alleges FFP breaches.
Financial Fair Play is often treated as a joke by the majority of Europe’s elite. However, things may be changing as Juventus and Manchester City are finding out.
The Premier League is alleging that over the course of eight seasons, Manchester City failed to provide correct financial information. This isn’t the first time City has faced these allegations by the Prem, but coupled with Juventus’ troubles, it feels different.
Now will City be punished? Probably not to be honest, as elite clubs rarely have to pay consequences. The only hope for any change is that this will be dealt with by the Prem and there is no appeal to the more lenient European sports court.
Just as City seem poised to make a deep run in the Champions League, their alleged financial issues threaten to drag them down. Time will tell if anything of substance will come from this.
On Monday, the Premier League announced that it had found City guilty of FFP breaches after a thorough investigation. Across the investigation, it’s alleged that City was uncooperative.
This investigation delved into the financial records of the club from the 2009/10 season through the 2017/18 season. Over this span, City went from United’s little brother to titans of the sport. It’s difficult to compare City’s transformation to any other club.
It was during this same time that the league alleges that City misreported financial records of both player salaries and partnership revenues. While it’s true that the club has faced, and defeated, charges of this nature recently, there’s another aspect of this story.
From the Prem’s statement, it’s clear that their case stems from their allegation that City has been uncooperative with the investigation. According to their statements, the league officials were unable to secure help from the club with their investigation. On the surface, this investigation seems travail, but it’s clearly a delve into what the European investigation failed with.
When City originally faced similar allegations, they appealed and the charges were overturned by a European court. This time it’s different as City can’t appeal any sentencing to another sporting court, as it’s an English matter. Those original charges were handed down by UEFA, not the Prem and this time, it’s the Prem.
City has faced investigations like this in the past, but the involvement of the Prem is different. Of course this could be all for naught, but it showcases football’s transformation over the past decade.
Fans have been having fun mocking the Citizens with the fear of relegation. Despite the memes and consequences of their actions, the club is unlikely to face any real issues.
According to Sky Sports, there are a litany of punishments for City should they be found guilty. They range from the wild possibility of relegation to the more realistic fine and minor point deduction. To compare them to Juventus, the Italian club has already been slapped with a 15 point deduction.
Despite the banter that could come with a City relegation, the most realistic of all these possibilities is a fine and maybe a 3-6 point deduction. In addition, this case will likely take years, so it’s unlikely fans will see any sort of resolution in the coming years. That said, it would be fascinating to watch a club of that stature travel to Luton.
The question on every fan’s mind is will they face any consequence? Based on a variety of factors, it’s so unlikely.
Just like in every facet of life, money and status can delay any sort of justice, even in sport where the consequences are minor. City has the money to hire a team of lawyers that would rival OJ’s defense team. Their status as a powerhouse of the sport have given them the cover they need to navigate around any sort of potential problems.
At the same time, the Prem knows the commercial impact of the club and what their demotion could mean for league revenue. Any sort of extreme punishment for City that yields in players leaving the league can have immense effects on the league’s TV deals. It’s unfortunate, but the league will have to work with a hand tied behind their back.
To be totally fair to City, they are likely not the only club doing this, but that should be an indictment of the sport’s current landscape. Whatever punishment Citty may or may not face will have little impact in making the sport more fair and equal.
Despite being one of the biggest jokes in sport, FFP is occasionally taken seriously, as City have found out twice. In all likelihood, City will be fine, receiving a fine after dragging out court proceedings for years. Honestly, the most disappointing thing about these findings is how normalized they feel and how little fairness exists in the sport.
Featured image: Sky Sports