Sport

Manchester City ‘expect Pep Guardiola to leave before any punishments’

Manchester City reportedly expect manager Pep Guardiola to have already left the club before any potential punishments for breaching numerous financial rules.

On Monday, the Premier League revealed that the Citizens have been charged with breaking more than 100 financial rules following a four-year investigation.

The charges against the reigning Premier League champions relate to financial information regarding revenue, details of manager and player remuneration within the relevant contracts, UEFA regulations, profitability and sustainability and co-operation with Premier League investigations.

Man City have denied the allegations – which are said to have taken place between 2009-10 and 2017-18 – and have released a statement expressing their ‘surprise’ considering the “irrefutable evidence” in support of their position.

Should the independent commission find Man City guilty of the breaches, they could face unprecedented sanctions such as transfer bans, fines, points deductions or expulsion from the Premier League.

According to The Athletic, via the Daily Mail, members of staff behind the scenes at Man City expect Guardiola to have left the Etihad Stadium before any possible sanctions are levelled against the club.

The report adds that Guardiola was one of the first senior figures at City to be told of the charges by the Premier League before the news was made public on Monday morning.

In February 2020, the Citizens were fined £25m and were handed a two-year Champions League ban by UEFA for “serious breaches” of club licensing and financial fair play regulations between 2012 and 2016.

However, the punishment was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and their fine was reduced to £9m as ‘most of the alleged breaches were either not established or time-barred.’

Guardiola has always stood by City following the allegations, but last season he vowed to resign from his post if he were to discover that club chiefs have ‘lied’ to him about the club’s financial dealings.

“Why did I defend the club and the people? It’s because I work with them. When they are accused of something I ask them: ‘Tell me about that.’ They explain and I believe them,” Guardiola told reporters in May last year as quoted by The Mirror.

“I said to them: ‘If you lie to me, the day after I am not here. I will be out and I will not be your friend any more. I put my faith in you because I believe you 100% from day one and I defend the club because of that.’

“When you put something here [sponsor] it’s overpaid, but other [clubs] the money comes from the USA but the money is correct, even if it’s higher. We have to deal with that, we have to fight with that. As always I am a big fan to support this organisation, no doubt.

“It’s a situation in 2012 or 2013, I was still in Barcelona, most of the people running that are not here now, but of course I would not like it. What I like is to represent a club who do things properly. It’s not about winning the Champions League and the Premier League, we want to do well for our people and our fans.”

Guardiola has won 11 trophies during his successful six-and-a-half-year reign at Man City, lifting four Premier League titles, four EFL Cups, one FA Cup and two Community Shields, while he guided the Citizens to their first-ever Champions League final in 2021.

Man City currently sit second in the Premier League table, five points behind leaders Arsenal who have a game in hand.

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