Premier League Accuses Manchester City of Financial Breaches

LONDON (AP) — Manchester City was accused by the Premier League on Monday of breaching a slew of financial rules from 2009-18, during which the club became a force in English and European soccer following its takeover by Abu Dhabi’s ruling family. 

The league released a long statement detailing a list of alleged breaches of regulations by City after a four-year investigation, covering a period when the team won three Premier League titles — in 2012, 2014 and 2018. 

City, the defending league champion, is accused of failing to provide “accurate financial information that gives a true and fair view of the club’s financial position” between 2009-18 or give “full details of manager remuneration in its relevant contracts” from 2009-13. Roberto Mancini was manager during that period. 

Other alleged offenses include failure to comply with UEFA regulations from 2013-18, Premier League profitability and sustainability rules from 2015-18 and to assist with the league’s investigation from December 2018 to the present day.

The league said it has referred the breaches to an independent commission ahead of a confidential hearing. City hasn’t responded to a request for comment from The Associated Press. City could be at risk of severe punishment. 

The Premier League’s rule book gives a disciplinary commission powers to impose a range of sanctions plus the wider scope of “such other penalty as it shall think fit.” 

A large fine seems inevitable if the charges are proven. Also in play is a point deduction, a title nullified or even being expelled from the league, according to league rules. 

While City was under investigation by the Premier League, the club had a two-year ban from European club competitions overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2020 after UEFA ruled City committed “serious breaches” of financial fair play regulations from 2012-16. 

City was not fully cleared of wrongdoing, though the court said some of the allegations were not proven or could not be judged because of a statute of limitations in UEFA rules. 

The court also fined City 10 million euros (then $11.3 million) for failing to cooperate with investigators. The club’s “blatant disregard” should be “strongly condemned,” the court’s judges said. 

City has been transformed into an English soccer power in the decade since being bought by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and a member of Abu Dhabi’s royal family.

Under its Abu Dhabi ownership, City — which previously lived in the shadow of neighbor Manchester United — has won six Premier League titles, two FA Cups and six English League Cups.