Premier League: The complexity of the Manchester City case means it could take years to complete

A leading sports advocate warns the Manchester City disciplinary case will likely take two to four years to resolve, reports MARTYN ZIEGLER.

It is expected to take between two and four years for the Premier League disciplinary proceedings against Manchester City to be completed, according to one of Britain’s leading sporting lawyers.

The Premier League announced on its website on Monday that the club faces allegations of breaching 115 different regulations in 14 years, from 2009/10 to this season.

Nick De Marco KC – who represented Mike Ashley in a lengthy legal battle when he tried to sell Newcastle United and who also defended Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday over financial fair play charges – said the number of charges against City and the length the time they made the case incredibly complex. He anticipates a period of two to four years.

De Marco said: “Having worked on the Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday financial fair play cases, both of which involved two indictments spanning about two years and taking about a year and a half from indictment to completion, I wouldn’t be surprised if this the case would be proceedings [involving City] much longer as there appear to be 115 charges covering a 14 year period.”

Watchstone Group chief executive and general counsel Stefan Borson, who previously served as City’s financial advisor, has also worked on lengthy legal cases. He thinks it’s unlikely City will be able to appeal to the English courts but that the case will be years away from a conclusion.

Borson said: “These allegations seem as serious for a company as it gets. I think it’s unlikely the club will be able to appeal due to Premier League rules requiring their disputes to be dealt with by the English courts [independent] Commission and Arbitration.

“The seriousness of these allegations will likely mean that it will be a long time before the disciplinary process can be completed – I would not be at all surprised if it took longer than two years.

“Ultimately I believe it will be very difficult for the Premier League to prove this level of wrongdoing but if it does the consequences for the club and its directors – and of course the fans – will be devastating.”

If the allegations are proven, it could result in a range of sanctions under the league’s Rule W.51, including a point deduction, with the ultimate sanction being expulsion from the Premier League.

The charges have been referred by the league to an independent disciplinary committee, which will hold all hearings in camera.

The financial reporting violations relate to nine seasons from 2009/10 to 2017/18. The club have also been accused of failing to cooperate with an investigation and failing to hand over documents as required in five seasons from 2018-19 to 2022-23.

The charges include failing to provide full pay details for manager Roberto Mancini over the four seasons he was at the club, from 2009 to 2013, and failing to provide full player pay details over six seasons, from 2010/11 to 2015. 16

The city said it was “surprised” by the charges and had a “comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence in place to support it.” [their] Position”.

-The times

Originally published as Premier League: Due to the complexity of the Manchester City case, the case may take years to complete Premier League: The complexity of the Manchester City case means it could take years to complete

Ryan Sederquist

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