Despite the clamouring – it doesn’t take much nous to predict what the outcome of the investigation regarding Man City’s revenue and the supposed breaches of financial rules.
Despite the precedence set by punishments previously handed out to Glasgow Rangers, Derby County, Reading, Sheffield Wednesday and a raft of other sides – Manchester City will evade heavy sanctions.
Despite Financial Fair Play advocating itself as a guardian to the sport in the face of abhorrent levels of revenue entering the game – City, much like they did on their previous charge, as well as PSG, will escape with a laughable punishment should they be found guilty.
Make no mistake, when it comes to owners and close links with sponsors, it’s a grey area that can be well masked with strategic accounting.
But with Premier League rules having very different rules when it comes to evidence as opposed to UEFA, that is a signal that there may well be more to this than meets the eye.
Man City aren’t the first to inflate the market and they won’t be the last. Chelsea, since the Abramovich takeover in the 00s, have enjoyed lax rulings when it comes to investment and have used it to hold other clubs to ransom.
Like it or not, money talks and these clubs have enjoyed success with the lucre they have spent. But take this recent transfer window for example. Chelsea spent more money than any other side in history in the space of one window.
And they were able to do it knowing full well that FFP and other competition regulations wouldn’t be broken, thanks to savvy accounting and stretching out payments over lengthy contracts.
Is it so hard to fathom that City are supremely confident because they know that these supposed contraventions can be skewed to loop around the rules?
The charges relate to a wide space of time – between 2009 and 2018 – and are to do with club sponsorship, manager and player remuneration.
If they are found guilty, Premier League punishments are a bottomless pot as there is no precedence for this level of financial breach.
But any hope of a rapid conclusion to this should be shelved. This will rumble on for some time.
City are bullish about their chances, stating “”Manchester City is surprised by the issuing of these alleged breaches of the Premier League Rules, particularly given the extensive engagement and vast amount of detailed materials that the EPL has been provided with,” the club said in a statement.
“The club welcomes the review of this matter by an independent commission, to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence that exists in support of its position.
“As such we look forward to this matter being put to rest once and for all.”
The investigation also mentions how City have been unhelpful in providing the documentation required, something City vehemently deny.
City, since their takeover by the Abu Dhabi Group, have enjoyed 17 trophies in that time.
If they are indeed found guilty and the punishment meted out to them is heavy enough, it would set back the target for the club to be European champions by some distance.
Although hopes for justice to prevail and some footballing financial responsibility to be the common denominator, is likely to be pie in the sky, given how easily City evaded punishment the last time around.
We can live in hope.