Man City 115 charges relegation 'precedent' set ahead of Premier League hearing

Man City have been charged with 115 alleged breaches of financial rules by the Premier League – and there may be a legal precedent involved.

The Premier League could use a historic decision against a current EFL club as a ‘legal precedent’ in the upcoming hearing into Manchester City’s alleged 115 breaches of financial rules, according to a new report.

City were charged with the alleged breaches in February 2023.

The allegations relate to a time period between 2009 and 2018, with five of those 115 charges relating to UEFA’s financial rules. City strenuously deny all the allegations made against them and have vowed to clear their name.

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An initial hearing into the charges will take place in November, as per The Times, and is to last for around six weeks. An outcome is expected in the first half of 2025.

In the meantime, City have launched legal action against the Premier League relating to their Associated Party Transaction regulations, which are designed to prevent clubs from inflating commercial deals with companies linked to their ownership. The club describe the regulations as ‘unlawful’.

The 115 charges case is relatively unique in professional football, both in terms of the context and pure scale of the alleged breaches against the club.

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But according to The Times, the Premier League could use a previous case involving current League Two club Swindon Town as a ‘legal precedent’ in the City hearing.

In the 1989/90 season, the Robins won promotion to the First Division (now Premier League) via the play-offs under the management of Ossie Ardiles.

They had done so, however, under a huge cloud, with the club having been hit with 35 charges relating to illegal payments made to players over a four-year period before the play-offs began.

The case was due to be heard before the play-offs got underway, but was postponed following legal advice.

Swindon earned promotion under manager Ossie Ardiles (right) in 1990 before their subsequent punishment (


Getty)

Swindon admitted 36 charges, including the 35 aforementioned charges of illegal payments – and were punished by being relegated down two divisions to the Third Division.

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The Robins appealed the verdict, with the FA deciding to only drop them down one division instead – keeping them in the same division in which they had begun the 1989/90 season.

The verdict had major consequences at boardroom level, with chairman Brian Hillier found guilty of tax offences at Winchester Crown Court and sentenced to six months in prison. The club’s chief accountant, Vince Farrar, also received a suspended six-month sentence.

On the pitch, Swindon would replace Ardiles with Glenn Hoddle, who initially kept the club in the second tier before guiding them to promotion to the Premier League in the 1992/93 season.

The Times now say that Swindon’s punishment of relegation could be used as precedent by the Premier League in the City case – although there are significant differences between the two cases and the allegations levelled at the two clubs.