Manchester City “must be relegated” if charges relating to breaching financial rules are proven, according to a former financial adviser to the club.
The Premier League champions were accused on Monday of breaching divisional financial rules more than 100 times over sponsors and contracts over nine seasons.
City could face a points deduction or even expulsion following the allegations – and a former club adviser has now said that if proven Pep Guardiola’s side must be sent back to the Championship.
Stefan Borson tweeted: “Alarmist or not, the sheer extent of PL’s charges are at a level which, if proven, must lead to relegation.”
sports mail‘s Nick Harris replied: ‘Stefan is a former Man City financial adviser, a Man City fan, a former banker, current solicitor, CEO and general counsel for a PLC dealing with allegations of historical accounting issues.
‘Also on FFP (Financial Fair Play) issues. So it’s an interesting sight.
And in response to a message which asked: “If we have the ability to tear up the UEFA investigation, surely our ’50 best lawyers in the world’ will be able to see this?” Or is it just a “time limit” issue that doesn’t come into the equation? “, Borson went on to say that the ultra-wealthy city would have no financial advantage in fighting the allegations.
He added: “Some of the charges seem likely to be time barred unless willful concealment is proven.”
“And yes, 50 lawyers will fight hard, but so will the 50 PL lawyers. All the same cabinets/rooms/quality/reputations. The city has no financial advantage in the level of lawyers available.
The charges against City relate to financial information regarding revenue, details of manager and player remuneration, UEFA regulations, profitability and sustainability and cooperation with Premier League investigations.
A league statement said alleged violations occurred from September 2009 through the 2017-18 season and will now be referred to an independent commission.
He adds that the club allegedly breached league rules requiring the provision “in good faith” of “accurate financial information giving a true and fair view of the financial position of the club”.
If Man City are found guilty, they face a range of potential penalties including a points deduction or even expulsion – although the case could take years to come to a conclusion.
The club has yet to officially comment, but sports mail understands that they are ready to defend themselves “vigorously”.
Between the dates mentioned, Man City have won three Premier League titles, one FA Cup and three Carabao Cups.
City have vehemently denied any breach of financial rules, but the investigation began in December 2018 after German investigative site Der Spiegel published documents from the Football Leaks cache sourced from Portuguese hacker Rui Pinto.
He alleged City had: inflated sponsorship income, with money being paid by the Abu Dhabi club owners instead of Gulf state-linked sponsors; effectively doubled former manager Roberto Mancini’s salary via a secret contact with an Abu Dhabi club and broke rules on approaches to young players.
The Mail on Sunday led the way in the investigation, in July 2021, reporting emails which appeared to suggest Man City funneled millions of dollars into the club through Abu Dhabi to help boost their revenue.
In February 2020, the club were banned from the Champions League and fined £25m after being found guilty of seriously misleading European football’s governing body UEFA and for violating the rules of financial fair play. This was later lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which also reduced the club’s fine to £9million.
On the central finding of the ICFC (UEFA Club Financial Control Body) Adjudicatory Chamber that City’s ownership of Abu Dhabi had disguised its own funding as independent sponsorship by the commercial companies of the ‘State, CAS concluded: ‘Most of the alleged violations have not been established or statute-barred.’
Under Premier League rules, there is no similar restriction on the length of time since an alleged offence.
Borson worked with City between 2002 and 2007 and it was on his advice that the club accepted a £90million takeover bid from Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister of Thailand.
A City fan, Borson is also a lawyer, and now CEO and General Counsel of a public company, Watchstone, formerly known as Quindell.
Since 2015, he has led their defense against allegations of historical faulty accounting and therefore has experience handling complex disputes related to accounting practices.
He has followed City’s FFP tribulations closely, from a first sanction by UEFA in 2014 for breaking the rules, to a second investigation by UEFA in 2019, to a two-year Champions League in 2020, to a reversal of this verdict by the Court of Arbitration. for Sport (CAS) in the summer of 2020.
City solicitor Simon Cliff has previously explained that rather than settle with UEFA in the then-ongoing FFP standoff, chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak “would rather spend £30m on the 50 best lawyers in the world to sue them for the next 10 years”.’
List of charges against Man City
Details of the Premier League rules that Man City allegedly broke are as follows:
1. In respect of each of the 2009/10 to 2017/18 seasons inclusive, the Premier League rules applicable in those seasons which required a member club to supply the Premier League, in good faith, with accurate financial information which gives a true and fair view of the financial situation of the club, in particular with regard to its income (including sponsorship income), its related parties and its operating costs, namely:
(a) for the 2009/10 season, Premier League rules B.13, C.71, C.72, C.75 (amended to C.79 from 10 September 2009 for the remainder of the 2009/10 season ) and C.80;
(b) for the 2010/11 season, Premier League rules B.13, C.78, C.79, C.86 and C.87;
(c) for the 2011/12 season, Premier League rules B.13, E.3, 4, E.11 and E.12;
(d) for the 2012/13 season, Premier League rules 16, E.3, E.4, E.11 and E.12;
(e) for the 2013/14 season, Premier League rules 15, E.3, E.4, E.11, E.12 and E.49;
(f) for the 2014/15 season, Premier League rules 16, E.3, E.4, E.11, E.12 and E.50;
(g) for the 2015/16 season, Premier League Rules 16, E.3, E.4, E.11, E.12 and E.50;
(h) for the 2016/17 season, Premier League rules16, E.3, E.4, E.11, E.12 and E.51; And
(i) for the 2017/18 season, Premier League rules B.16, 3, E.4, E.11, E.12 and E.51.
2. With regard to:
(a) each of the 2009/10 to 2012/13 seasons inclusive, the Premier League rules applicable to those seasons requiring a member club to include full details of manager’s remuneration in their relevant contracts with their manager, namely :
(1) for the seasons 2009/10 to 2011/12 inclusive, Premier League Rules Q.7 and Q.8; And
(2) for the 2012/13 season, Premier League Rules P.7 and P.8; And
(b) each of the 2010/11 to 2015/16 seasons inclusive, the Premier League rules applicable to those seasons requiring a member club to include full details of player remuneration in its relevant contracts with its players, namely :
(1) for the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons, Premier League Rules K.12 and K.20;
(2) for the 2012/13 season, Premier League rules T.12 and T.20;
(3) for the 2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons, Premier League rules T.12 and T.19; And
(4) for the 2015/16 season, Premier League Rules T.13 and T.20.
3. In respect of each of the 2013/14 to 2017/18 seasons inclusive, the Premier League rules applicable to those seasons requiring a member club to comply with UEFA regulations, including the UEFA on club licensing and financial fair play, namely:
(a) for the 2013/14 season, Premier League rule B.14.6; And
(b) for the 2014/15 to 2017/18 seasons inclusive, Premier League rule B.15.6.
4. In respect of each of the 2015/16 to 2017/18 seasons inclusive, the Premier League rules applicable to those seasons on profitability and sustainability, namely:
(a) for the 2015/16 season, Premier League rules E.52 to E.60; And
(b) for the 2016/17 and 2017/18 Seasons, Premier League Rules E.53 to E.60.
5. In relation to the period from December 2018 to date, Premier League rules applicable to the relevant seasons require a member club to co-operate with the Premier League and assist it in its investigations, including by providing documents and information to the Premier League. in good faith, namely:
(a) for the 2018/19 season, Premier League rules B.16, B.19, W.1, W.2, W.12 and W.13;
(b) for the 2019/20 season, Premier League rules B.16, B.19, W.1, W.2, W.12 and W.13;
(c) for the 2020/21 season, Premier League rules B.16, B.19, W.1, W.2, W.12 and W.13;
(d) for the 2021/22 season, Premier League rules B.15, B.18, W.1, W.2, W.15 and W.16; And
(e) for the 2022/23 season, Premier League rules B.15, B.18, W.1, W.2, W.15 and W.16.