What kind of punishment is it facing?
To be clear, City has only been accused of financial rules violations at this point.
If the club is found to have breached the rules, however, the Premier League lays out sanctions that could include business penalties like reprimands and fines and — far more worrisome if you’re City — points deductions in the standings or even expulsion from the top division.
That feels like a big deal.
Expelling City from the Premier League would be a very big deal. Rewriting the league’s record books, and its title history, would be just as big. Manchester City has spent billions building a serial Premier League champion and annual Champions League contender. Losing any of it in the stroke of a pen would be astonishing.
Explain the charges to me like I’m a child.
The Premier League laid out its accusations against Manchester City in five points littered with legalese and references to rules like B.13, C.71, C.72 and C.75 (amended to C.79).
Let’s simplify them:
The first point contends that for every season from 2009-10 to 2017-18, Manchester City failed to abide by rules requiring member clubs to provide accurate financial information to the league, giving it “a true and fair view” of the club’s revenues (think sponsorships) and operating costs (think salaries).
What does that mean? All Premier League clubs sign up to a code of compliance, promising to behave as good-faith actors and provide up-to-date and true versions of their accounts to be audited every year. City has long faced accusations that it has inflated the value of its sponsorship deals with entities linked to its Gulf owners, including with the United Arab Emirates’ national airline, Etihad, and the telecommunications company Etisalat.
Another set of charges suggests that, in the Premier League’s view, Manchester City was not truthful in its reporting of contracts detailing the compensation of its manager and certain players in several seasons.
What you might not know: City is accused of reducing the cost of player and coach salaries by paying portions of them through third parties or secret agreements, an allegation that first emerged when the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported that Manchester City’s former coach Roberto Mancini actually had signed two contracts when he joined the club in 2009. The first paid him £1.45 million (about $1.7 million) to coach Manchester City. The secondary agreement paid him slightly more to consult with a U.A.E.-based team, Al Jazira, for only four days a year. Manchester City’s chairman, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, is also chairman of the company that owns Al Jazira.