Manchester City, a top-flight soccer club that has won English Premier League titles the last two seasons and six times since 2010, faces harsh punishments after an investigation revealed the club allegedly committed a slew of financial violations.
The Premier League on Monday released a long statement that detailed a list of about 80 alleged breaches of financial rules by the club from 2009 to 2018. It was the first full nine seasons the club was taken over by an Abu Dhabi-backed group. In that time, Manchester City won three Premier League titles. The club was also accused of 30 more breaches relating to its failure to cooperate with the probe.
The Premier League has financial fair play rules designed to ensure clubs essentially spend what they earned from deals that are assessed for being at legitimate market value.
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Fans watch the action during the English Premier League match between Manchester City and Southampton at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, on Oct. 8, 2022. (Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)
The investigation’s revelations could lead to a fine or a worse punishment like a deduction in points, a title nullified or even being expelled from the league itself, according to Premier League rules.
Manchester City is five points behind Arsenal for first place in the Premier League and only three points above Manchester United for second place.
“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 said in a statement.
“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.
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Manchester City’s Norwegian striker Erling Haaland gestures to supporters after scoring the opening goal in the match against Everton at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, on Dec. 31, 2022. (Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)
“As such we look forward to this matter being put to rest once and for all.”
The breaches were referred to an independent commission, which will be made up of three judges appointed by a lawyer who chairs the league’s judicial panel. The commission’s hearing will be held in secret and there is no timetable for a verdict.
Manchester City never disputed the documents that leaked to Der Spiegel in 2018, which prompted the investigation.
The club is accused of breaching rules that require a provision “in utmost good faith” of “accurate financial information that gives a true and fair view of the club’s financial position” between 2009-18 and failing to give “full details of manager remuneration in its relevant contracts” from 2009-13.
Fans welcome Manchester City players before the start of the match against Aston Villa in Manchester, England, Sunday, May 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson, File)
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The club also faces accusations of failure to comply with UEFA regulations from 2013-18 and the Premier League’s profitability and sustainability rules from 2015-18.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Ryan Gaydos is the sports editor for Fox News Digital.