Afotimber Everton’s 10-point deduction saw Manchester City’s haters get their pitch forks out demanding justice for their alleged 115 breaches of FFP , but how will the Treble winners feel about their potential sanctions?
The Toffees being docked ten points for a single breach feels harsh on the face of it, but rules are rules and it potentially sets Man City up for a far more serious punishment, while Chelsea will also be looking over their shoulders anxiously.
Man City will be lawyered up beyond belief as, after investing literal billions to become a footballing superpower, they will now be spending a fortune in an attempt to protect their under-scrutiny image.
There is a lot at stake for Man City and of the five main punishments they could face, which will impact them the most? Below we’ve ranked them from least to most severe…
5) A fine
Man City ‘s Sheikh Mansour may have been overtaken by PIF in the Premier League owner-rich list, but he is certainly still not short of a pound note or two.
So while a multi-million-pound fine would be enough to send certain English clubs into turmoil, it would not even scratch the surface at Man City.
If you cast your mind back to the whole European Super League debacle, the ‘Big Six’ clubs involved were only made to pay a £22m settlement to the Premier League over their attempted breakaway.
This half-hearted slap on the wrist allowed Man City and co. to get away with murder and the Premier League have gone from one extreme to another with the sanctions handed out to Everton.
As the Premier League seemingly attempt to throw their weight around ahead of the imminent arrival of an independent regulator (which is long overdue), they may look to make an example of Man City as they did Everton. But given the calibre of lawyers that will inevitably be at their disposal, a large fine would be the least severe punishment if their wrongdoing is proven and that’s largely why it is probably most likely.
4) Transfer ban
While Man City would not be seriously impacted behind the scenes if they are handed a huge fine, the same can be said on the pitch if they are given a transfer ban for their supposed misdemeanours.
Pep Guardiola has the best squad in the Premier League (and probably the world) so a measly transfer ban for a couple of windows is unlikely to derail their pursuit of even more glory.
And despite the likes of Kyle Walker, Kevin De Bruyne and Scott Carson (we cannot forget him) in the squad, Man City’s is the sixth-youngest in the Premier League with an average age of 25.8; the bulk of Guardiola’s team have their best years ahead of them.
A transfer ban would allow Liverpool, Arsenal and others to potentially close the gap on Man City to make for a more competitive Premier League title race, but a fair few steps need to be taken to remove the Treble winners from their perch and a transfer ban would not shove them away from their persistent trophy-winning trajectory.
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3) Points deduction
Now onto the tastier solutions. A point deduction – which would presumably range between 10 and 30 – would throw the spanner into the works as City pursue yet another Premier League title.
If, like Everton, they are docked 10 points, this would have been enough to see them miss out on the title in three of the five seasons they have ended a campaign as champions under Guardiola.
And with competition seemingly more rife this year than previously, this level of deduction would likely force them to play a supporting role in the title race.
It says a lot about Man City’s dominance that – based on last season’s points tally – a 30-point deduction would have left them in eighth-place and in normal circumstances (finishing with over 90 points), even with this extreme penalty, they would qualify for the Europa League.
At this point, City playing in the Europa League is as baffling a concept as Manchester United winning the Premier League and, after finally overcoming their Champions League hoodoo, Guardiola would surely not be averse to adding the second-best European competition to this trophy cabinet. Mind, tournament specialist Unai Emery would have something to say about that with Aston Villa.
Immediate relegation to the Championship (or below) would be the dream scenario for most of Man City’s Premier League rivals and with them out of the picture, neutrals would be treated to an all-timer title race with Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs and Aston Villa among the contenders chasing each other’s tails.
But for the elder, non-glory supporter contingent of the Man City fanbase, a nostalgia-filled stint in the Football League could even be welcomed for old-time’s sake.
The prospect of Man City doing a Rangers and climbing back up through the divisions would be a refreshing respite for onlookers of the Premier League who have grown tired of their relentless dominance.
While this could simply delay the inevitable as Man City prepare for another period at the top, Saudi-backed Newcastle United are already waiting in the shadows with FFP the only thing in the way of them rapidly establishing a new elite.
And an enforced relegation down a league or two would afford the Magpies an opportune chance to grasp City’s Premier League crown.
1) Being stripped of Premier League titles
As inconvenient as some of these punishments would be, it would not take away Man City’s recent history with seven Premier League title wins and one Champions League triumph.
If their guilt ends up being proven, a rather large asterisk would suddenly hover like a dark cloud over Man City’s ongoing period of supremacy, but supporters would – even if it made themselves and rivals feel uneasy – still be able to cling to the fact that their trophy haul remains intact.
Yet, should Man City’s titles be snatched away, not only would rivals such as Arsenal, Liverpool and Man Utd gleefully accept their delayed crowning moments, this drastic action would undo the unbelievable work done by Guardiola and the less-famous decision-makers behind the scenes who have collectively transformed the English into an elite force in the footballing world.
While their immaculate structure would remain in place, their recent history of success would be diminished as on paper, they would return to being a middling Premier League side who are striving to emerge from under the shadow of local (and superior) rivals Manchester United.
Yes, this would be unfair, but so was Everton being deducted 10 points and with the gloves now appearing to be off at Premier League headquarters, no punishment can be ruled out. But saying that, the money men typically come out on top in these scenarios, so we better brace ourselves for the meltdown at Man City’s sanctioning being a fine and that’s it.
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