Pep Guardiola faces fresh questions about allegations of financial wrongdoing by Manchester City

Fri, Nov 24, 2023
Soccer News (AP)

Pep Guardiola faces fresh questions about allegations of financial wrongdoing by Manchester City

MANCHESTER, England (AP) - With Manchester City facing accusations it committed more than 100 breaches of Premier League rules, Pep Guardiola remains steadfast in his belief that team is not guilty of financial wrongdoing.

The City manager was asked more questions about the allegations on Friday after Everton was deducted a league-record 10 points last week for financial breaches.

"I didn't change for one second my opinion about it," Guardiola said at a news conference ahead of Saturday's game against Liverpool. "Take time, wait and see what they decide and after we accept the resolution."

The league has accused City of dozens of breaches, including providing misleading information about its finances over a nine-year period from 2009-18.

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Potential punishments could include a point deduction or even expulsion from English soccer's top division.

The severity of Everton's unprecedented punishment has raised questions about the sanctions that could be imposed on City.

"It's two different cases. It's not the same. Honestly," Guardiola said. "I spoke with my people (and they) said it is completely different.

"What people accuse us of we do not agree with what they say. We are going to defend (ourselves) and after the resolution is done, I will be here, like a spokesman for my club."

The league has laid out about 80 alleged breaches of its financial rules and has accused City of 30 more, which relate to its supposed failure to cooperate with the investigation.

City has spent exorbitantly since being bought by Abu Dhabi's ruling family in 2008. It has become one of the most powerful teams in Europe, signing some of the best players in the world and last year winning the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.

The allegations came after a four-year investigation and the publication of leaked emails and documents, likely hacked, that were published starting in 2018 by German magazine Der Spiegel. The documents allegedly showed attempts to cover up the source of the club's income in a bid to comply with Financial Fair Play rules operated by European soccer body UEFA and the league.

City said in a statement in February it had "irrefutable evidence" to put the matter to rest "once and for all."

Guardiola has claimed in the past that City has already been "condemned" before having its case heard.

"I know the people want it. I know, I feel it," he said Friday.

Guardiola has turned City into the most dominant team in English soccer and won five titles in the last six seasons.

He was asked if there would be a punishment severe enough to see him consider his future at the club.

"I will answer when I have the sentence," he said. "You are questioning like we have been punished. And in the moment we are innocent until guilt is proved.

"Wait and see it and after the sentence has been done we will come here and explain it. But absolutely I will not consider my future (if) it depends on being here (Premier League) or being in League One (the third division). ... There is more chance (for me) to stay if we are in League One than if we were in the Champions League."

City had a two-year ban from European competitions overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2020 after a UEFA-appointed panel found "serious breaches" of financial rules from 2012-16.

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James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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