The English Premier League is investigating Manchester City’s alleged breach of UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) and Club Licensing Regulations. if found guilty, the Premier League champions club could possibly face a fine, points deduction or transfer ban.
UEFA had banned City from playing in any its club competition including the Champions League for the next two seasons and fined £24.9m. The European football governing body had revealed that an Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) found the Premier League champions guilty of serious breaches of its rules and regulation.
Man City was then suspended from Europe in the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons for also “failing to cooperate in the investigation by the CFCB”. UEFA added that City deliberately misled it so it could meet FFP rules requiring clubs to break even. City has, however, denied wrongdoing and has appealed the ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Since 2019, the Premier League started probing City’s accounting and recruitment practices with the help of law firm Bird & Bird. Reports have it that the investigation is being conducted independently of the other clubs, who will have no influence over whether they will face charges.
It was learned that the first thing in the probe is to know if City breached the Premier League’s Short Term Cost Control measures between 2013 and 2016. The regulation which has since been scrapped bans clubs from increasing their wage bill by more than seven percent per season unless they could demonstrate that the salary increases came from higher commercial revenue.
Pep Guardiola’s side could face disciplinary charges if evidence shows that the club overstated their sponsorship income between 2013 and 2016. The Premier League is also responsible for operating UEFA’s licensing process, which was introduced in 2004 for clubs who compete in European competitions, and if City is found to have submitted false information in their accounts that could constitute a breach of their license.
The final element of the investigation is understood to concern City’s recruitment of youth players, in particular their relationship with Danish club FC Nordsjaelland. It has been claimed City had an agreement with Nordsjaelland between 2016 and 2020 which enabled them to sign players from the club’s Right to Dream Academy in Ghana for free, which could constitute a breach of third-party ownership rules. Third-party ownership was banned by FIFA in 2015.
The Premier League have not commented on their investigation into City since a statement issued in March 2019, though new chief executive Richard Masters did confirm this month that it remained ongoing.
‘The Premier League has previously contacted Manchester City to request information regarding recent allegations and is in ongoing dialogue with the club,’ read their statement. ‘The league has detailed financial regulations and strong rules in the areas of academy player recruitment and third-party ownership. We are investigating and will allow Manchester City every opportunity to explain the context and detail surrounding them.’