Manchester City continues to be embroiled in a legal battle over a potential breach of the Financial Fair Play regulations with the Premier League, in secret, as reported by the New York Times (via the Independent).
The league leaders had been potentially set to clinch the Premier League title at the weekend, had Liverpool defeated rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford, prior to the postponement of the clash in light of fan protests against the Glazers.
“A report in the New York Times suggested that a confidential action is in progress with City’s lawyers arguing that the club would not receive a fair hearing in the league’s arbitration process,” Tony Evans wrote for the Independent.
“Last year City had a two-year Champions League ban that was imposed by Uefa overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne.
“CAS ruled that any transgression by the club was either not proven or fell outside the five-year window for prosecution.”
While the behind-the-scenes nature of the proceedings isn’t necessarily anything to raise eyebrows, the subject matter certainly is worthy of inspiring some concern.
The idea that the Manchester-based side weren’t given a “fair hearing” is particularly laughable in the light of the club’s blatant bending of the rules.
“The Premier League’s rules were introduced after Uefa’s and do not contain deadlines which would time-bar any offences,” the journalist continued. “There is also potential for the league to launch a case against City for failing to supply accurate accounts to pass on to Uefa. In similar cases clubs have challenged the scope of the arbitration, objecting to the parameters set by the Premier League.”
There can be no question of the quality of Manchester City’s campaign this term, nor their prior seasons, with Pep Guardiola having built a more than formidable side fit to grace European finals.
That being said, it’s difficult to treat the Premier League outfit’s success as genuine when keeping in mind that their path to success was virtually paved in oil.
The FFP regulations were, admittedly, somewhat weak, but the premise was very much supported by all across the sport – at the very least at a fan level – in a bid to preserve the notion that greatness can be attained via hard work rather than simply a blank chequebook.
The remaining finalists for the Champions League, however, show that, if anything, FFP has been utterly undermined, and we’d welcome any investigation into potential breaches.