A leading lawyers has suggested that the Premier League’s disciplinary case against Manchester City could take between two and four years.
City have been charged with 115 alleged financial breaches, with the Premier League having released a statement on Monday confirming the charges after a four-year investigation.
The club’s alleged breaches include financial irregularities surrounding sponsorship deals and revenue, breaking UEFA and Premier League Financial Fair Play rules, and failing to co-operate with the Premier League investigation that has led to the charges.
Speculation has surrounded the punishments that City could face if found guilty, which include points deductions, the stripping of titles won during the period under investigation and possible expulsion from the Premier League.
City admitted their surprise at the charges the club face in a statement and one of Britian’s top lawyers, Nick De Marco KC, believes there will be no quick resolution to the case against the Premier League champions.
Speaking to the Times, Di Marco said: “Having worked on the Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday financial fair play cases, both of which involved two charges over about two years and took about a year and a half from charges to the end, I would not be surprised if these proceedings took considerably longer given there are apparently 115 charges covering a period of 14 years.”
Stefan Borson, who previously worked with Manchester City as a financial adviser, agrees that the case will take ‘in excess of two years’ and believes it will be difficult for the Premier League to prove the ‘scale’ of the club’s alleged wrongdoing. However, if found guilty, Borson believes it will have a ‘devastating’ impact on the Etihad outfit.
“The seriousness of these allegations is likely to mean it will be a long time before the disciplinary process can be completed — I would not be at all surprised if it took in excess of two years.
“Ultimately, I believe it will be very difficult for the Premier League to prove this scale of wrongdoing, but if it does, the consequences for the club and its directors, and, of course, the fans, will be devastating.”