As it turns out, Manchester City might have been the bad guys all along.
Alleged financial misdoings look to have aided the club’s rise over the past 15 years, with City eventually emerging as the Premier League’s supreme force under Pep Guardiola since 2016.
While their lack of continental success continues to gnaw away at the Spaniard, the club’s domestic achievements in recent years are unparalleled.
But it’s all finally caught up to them.
A lengthy investigation conducted by the Premier League claims that City have breached the league’s financial regulations over 100 times in total since 2009. It’s a serious issue, and one that could draw severe punishment.
However, it’s not the first time Man City have run into FFP trouble. Here’s a reminder of their history with UEFA’s regulations.
City’s first FFP mishap came nine years ago in 2014. The Citizens were among several clubs to breach UEFA’s ‘break-even’ rule which meant they were spending more than they were earning.
Man City were one of nine teams implicated for similar misdemeanours at the time, with Paris Saint-Germain also being charged.
As a result, City were hit with a €60m fine, had their UEFA squad reduced from 25 to 21 players, were forced to limit their transfer spending, while two-year squad salary restrictions were also imposed.
This scandal eventually culminated in a major City triumph at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in 2020.
UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) had imposed a two-year ban (from competing in Europe) and a €30m fine on the club for breaches of FFP and for a failure to cooperate with the investigation.
CFCB, off the back of leaked emails published in Der Spiegel, claimed that City had disguised equity funding as sponsorship contributions, but the CAS ruled against UEFA. The court said: “Most of the alleged breaches reported by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the CFCB were either not established or time-barred,” before adding it was ‘not appropriate’ to impose a ban for failing to comply with the investigation.
As a result of that ruling, City’s two-year ban was overturned but they still had to pay a €10m fine for failing to help UEFA’s investigation.