THE forecast for Manchester City is heavy with questions — none of which will be answered for some while.

However, when rival Premier League clubs and a few others, both in the lower divisions and abroad, consider how their past might have been affected by Etihad dealings, then it becomes obvious that we may shortly be in for a time for recrimination, demands for reparation or, simply, a clearing up of the whole business in City’s favour.

Pep Guardiola believes Man City will be proven innocent


Pep Guardiola believes Man City will be proven innocentCredit: Reuters
Karren Brady feels there will be calls for serious punishment if Man City are found guilty


Karren Brady feels there will be calls for serious punishment if Man City are found guiltyCredit: Getty

The Premier League have put forward 115 alleged breaches of the Financial Fair Play rules.

Abu Dhabi-owned Man City have denied them all and it is certainly not my job to comment on their guilt or innocence.

That’s what an independent panel are for.

Should they be found to have, say, strayed in the acquisition of players, the outcry for blood on the league’s carpets will be deafening.

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The rule-breaking is alleged to be between 2009 and 2018, that is mostly BG (Before Guardiola) and should guilt be found by the special commission, penalties could be anything from docked points, fines, suspension and even expulsion.

Proceedings will be in private, likely to last anything between two to four years and cost at least the equivalent of De Bruyne’s £20million salary many times over.

With provisos, two years ago City won a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport after Uefa had banned them from the Champions League.

At West Ham, before David Sullivan and David Gold took over in 2010, supporters remember well that the club were found to have breached rules on third-party ownership when they signed Carlos Tevez and then avoided relegation after he scored vital goals.


Sheffield United put themselves forward as the offended party in the 2007 competition and went down.

The shout of anguish at Bramall Lane could be heard from coast to coast. Blades were out in more ways than one.

They demanded that relegation should be transferred to those in claret and blue.

United’s fate was confirmed after a two-year squabble.

The Premier League decided West Ham, chaired at the time by Icelander Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, would be fined £20m.

This decision still irks in Yorkshire, as well as it does in East London but the attitude there is the very soul of acceptance compared with the row now coming in Europe whatever the verdict.

Not least in Germany, where the Hamburg newspaper Der Spiegel has been responsible for a ten-year campaign against England’s most successful team.

Continental envy has been stoked recently by financial figures showing that Prem clubs’ revenues are racing away to an extent that they exceed the total in the foremost four other leagues.

On the basis that there can be no smoke without fire, there are recent claims by Spain’s LaLiga president Javier Tebas that our league is “a doped market”. I profoundly object to that.

Our league is simply the best in the world — and therefore the most successful financially.

And politicians are nosing around, too.

Many fans and plenty of EFL clubs will conclude the Premier League inquiry has been sluggish in taking four years and that, by implication, an impartial regulator would be better.

It is certainly ammunition for the forthcoming Parliamentary white paper, the regulator plan already supported by Labour, a number of Conservatives and a fans’ review.

They are pushing plans to rein in the top division and to use more of the PL funds to top up the EFL and football in general.

It’s worth remembering we will already give the EFL £1.6BILLION over the next three years.

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The proposal seems enticing. But many Prem clubs are opposed because it smacks of obsessive bureaucracy — and also places a sledgehammer in the hands of non-football people.

The Premier League is so profitable and so successful because it knows business, is run democratically and is serious about social responsibilities.

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