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Manchester City must wait until 2027 for PL penalty

Manchester City

If Manchester City are found guilty of orchestrating the largest financial scandal in Premier League history, it could take up to four years before they are punished.

More than 100 alleged rule violations, some of which date back to 2009, were brought against Manchester City last month. These included failing to participate with the Premier League’s four-year inquiry and reporting player and manager salaries and incomes inaccurately.

According to specialists in sports law, the lawsuit is expected to go on until at least 2025. Due to its intricacy, the gravity of the allegations, and the legal prowess of both parties.

“Given the parties involved, given there are 115 charges, given that some of the charges are alleging things. Akin to fraud and dishonesty, given the lawyers and legal teams involved, I do not believe that this is going to be wrapped up in anything less than two to four years’ time. I think that’s impossible, and I don’t think anyone reasonably is arguing otherwise,” said leading barrister Nick De Marco KC.

Current champions recent instances from the English Football League provide the most relevant comparison. Because Manchester City are the first club to be charged by the Premier League with such substantial alleged violations.

Read More: Arsenal are reportedly in contact with the agent of Marco Asensio for a move in the next summer transfer window

De Marco speaks on Manchester City and its penalty

“We had the Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday cases where only two allegations were brought against those clubs. And the legal teams were not quite as high level as they are in this case,” added De Marco. During speaking at a panel discussion on football regulation organised by law firm Mishcon de Reya. 

“It took roughly 18 months from beginning to end to have those cases resolved. I cannot believe for a moment that it will be anything as quick for these. It’s bound to be longer.”

Lord Pannick KC, a barrister who earns £10,000 per hour, has been retained by Manchester City to represent them. Before the independent panel that will decide on the charges. Adam Lewis KC has been hired by the Premier League. Both are De Marco’s Blackstone Chambers coworkers, and among their works is Football and the Law.

If found guilty, City could face a range of punishment. This includes fines, transfer bans, points deductions and even expulsion from the league. The club said they were “surprised” by the charges.

De Marco’s take on City

“I think there’d have to be a serious sporting sanction if the charges or most of them. Particularly the ones alleging bad faith, are proven,” added De Marco.  

“I don’t think the Premier League would have brought such serious charges. Unless they themselves were gunning for a sporting sanction, because it wouldn’t make sense.”

“A sporting sanction could be anything from a registration embargo [transfer ban], which I suspect would be too soft for this sort of thing, to a points deduction which could be any number of points deductions, and ultimately it can be expulsion from the league, which is the ultimate sanction.” 

“You’re anywhere within that range depending on what sort of charges are proven and what kind of panel you have.”

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