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What EPL Punishment might City get?

By: Ted Fred Franky, Refuting misinformation, December 28, 2023  6 months ago

What Punishment might City get off the Premier League if they are found guilty

Fortunately, some of the fanciful ideas like stripping City of league titles are not on the table.

It is also hard to see if the arbitration process is followed properly that City will be punished at all.

Official Manchester City Scarf – PUMA3
Official Manchester City Scarf – PUMA3

If City are found guilty as previously discussed here these are the powers that the commission has:-

Punishments

  • (W.51.2) Unlimited Fine
  • (W.51.4.2) Deduct Points
  • (W.51.4.4) Recommend Expulsion from the league (75% majority required rule B6)
  • (W.51.5) Order City to pay compensation to any club seeking it
  • (W.51.6.) Impose an incoming Transfer Ban
  • (W.51.7. & W.51.10) Do anything else it chooses (NB see Arbitration Act)

Everton Precedent

Before we consider any of these we must look at the Everton case.

Thanks to ToffeeWeb for exposing this golden piece of information.

Man City Fans Sky and White Traditional Bar Scarf
Man City Fans Sky and White Traditional Bar Scarf

“The Premier League relied upon the decision in Sheffield Wednesday FC v The Football League Ltd, that a sporting advantage is to be inferred, therefore anything other than a points deduction would be inappropriate.“

You can find the Sheffield Wednesday v Football League Appeal here.

This is incredibly significant, because this sets a precedent that exactly the same argument has to be applied to City, if they are found guilty, ie it is difficult to argue that City would not have gained a quantifiable sporting advantage if the case is proved.

Any appeal by Everton is actually irrelevant, because they are not arguing this point, they are arguing that despite doing this they didn’t actually gain a quantifiable sporting advantage.

Additionally, Everton could still be ordered to pay compensation to affected clubs, such as Leicester for example who were relegated.

So really we only have two possible punishmentson the table.

Man City Fans Sky and White Traditional Bar Scarf
Man City Fans Sky and White Traditional Bar Scarf

(W.51.4.2) Deduct Points

Obviously, the amount of points is crucial. They can only deduct points in one season. If such a deduction does not lead to relegation, then it is only one year of minor harm.

Impact on Premier League Status

At the worst a points deduction could force relegation, but would have to be around 60pts to do that looking at the amount of points City amass each season. A 50 point deduction would test City, but 40 points or less would not affect City’s status as a Premier League club.

Impact of Champions League Qualification

Bearing in mind City could win the Champions League, and qualify as winners of the Champions League for the following season, such a punishment would only cost them a league title or perhaps a place in Europe one year. This might mean it is prudent for City to drop into the Europa League and win that to qualify in the year they are likely to get a points penalty.

Regardless, any excessive points penalty would be appealed in the courts by City as a restraint of trade and also they would have an injunction against them being applied immediately.

I suspect it would be no more than 20pts. It would certainly galvanise the club into trying to win the league with such a disadvantage. A 20 point or lower penalty, is something City could probably cope with, which is why I suspect the club are not too bothered by it.

Other clubs penalised with over 10 pts:

Everton’s 10 point deduction is the heaviest ever in the top flight, for clear and obvious breaches, but the football league has imposed (from Football Site ):-

Manchester City MCFC Scarf
Manchester City MCFC Scarf

  • Bolton Wanderers 12 points (2019/20) – 12 points deducted for entering administration.
  • Bury 12 points (2019/20) – 12 points deducted for arranging a CVA with creditors, followed by expulsion from the League.
  • Leeds: 15 points (2007-08) – 15 point deduction for not meeting the English Football League’s [EFL] strict insolvency rules.
  • Bournemouth: 17 points (2008-09) – 17 points after failing to emerge from administration.
  • Rotherham: 17 points (2008-09) – 17-point deduction after failing to abide by the EFL’s rules for exiting administration.
  • Macclesfield Town 17 points (2019/20 ) – 17 points deducted for various breaches of rules.
  • Derby 21 points (2021-22) – 12 point deduction for entering administration and 9 points for breaching EFL accounting rules.
  • Luton 30 points (2008-09) – 10 by the FA for irregular matters involving transfers and 20 pts for not properly exiting administration

(W.51.5) Order City to pay compensation to any club seeking it

This would be interesting, as with anything how much? We saw with the Sheffield United claim against West Ham in the courts that compensation paid is trivial compared to the impact of the offences. West Ham agreed to pay Sheffield United £18.1m over 4 years. This sets a precedent, of the amount, and that the payments should not cripple the penalised club, ie they should be staggered so thatv the club can make them easily, how does £6m a year hurt West Ham?

So even if 20 clubs successfully claimed £20m off City, it would be reasonable for City not to have pay any sum outside of their normal budget. It is hard to see City having to pay more than £20m a year in compensation, without it being seen as a restriction of trade in the courts. how would that punish City?