Pep Guardiola: Man City manager 'fully convinced' club is innocent after being charged by Premier League – Sky Sports

The Premier League charged Man City with numerous alleged breaches of financial rules on Monday; Pep Guardiola: “I am fully convinced we will be innocent”; watch Man City vs Aston Villa live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm on Super Sunday; kick-off 4.30pm

Saturday 11 February 2023 07:07, UK
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Pep Guardiola is “fully convinced” Manchester City are innocent but says they have been “sentenced already” after being charged by the Premier League for allegedly breaching financial rules.
The Premier League charged City with more than 100 alleged breaches of financial regulations on Monday and has referred the findings to an independent commission.
The charges relate to a nine-year period from 2009 but City say they are “surprised” and “welcome a review of this matter”.
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Speaking to the media for the first time since the charges were announced, Guardiola criticised some outside parties for being quick to pass judgement.
“My first thought is we’ve already been condemned,” the City boss said.
“We are lucky we live in a country where everyone is innocent until proven guilty. We didn’t have this opportunity. We have been sentenced already.
“What is going to happen, I don’t know. We have good lawyers and I know we are going to defend our position.”
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City previously had a European competition ban for breaching UEFA’s financial fair play regulations overturned following an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2020.
Speaking in May 2022, Guardiola explained why he had backed City back then and is confident the club will prove their innocence again.
“This happened with UEFA, it is the same,” he said. “The same articles, the same accusations. We will defend ourselves like what happened in the UEFA situation. The court will dictate what happens.
“I am fully convinced that we will be innocent. Since Abu Dhabi took over the club, it has been like that since day one.”
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Guardiola accused City’s Premier League rivals of conspiring against them and suggested other clubs have been pushing for them to be punished.
Asked if he felt other clubs had been driving the matter, Guardiola said: “Of course – it is the Premier League. I don’t know why. You have to ask the CEOs, Daniel Levy, these kinds of people.”
In response to Guardiola’s comments about Tottenham chairman Levy, Spurs said they do not wish to comment.
Guardiola also referenced the conduct of certain clubs during the process that saw City initially banned by UEFA for two years.
He said: “Nine teams – Burnley, Wolves, Leicester, Newcastle, Spurs, Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea – (wrote a letter wanting us) out of the Champions League, that they wanted that position.
“It’s not an unprecedented story, it’s the second time. We lived that before, two or three years ago.
“You accuse us – we should be out, but between those nine teams before and the 19 teams now, between their word and the word of my people, I’m sorry but I rely on the words of my people.”
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City could face heavy punishment, including points deductions and expulsion from the Premier League, if found guilty.
Guardiola did not say exactly why he felt other clubs would push for City to be sanctioned, but suggested they should be careful what they wish for.
The 52-year-old is confident City will be exonerated but intimated other clubs could fall foul in the future.
He said: “It is difficult for me to answer, I don’t know, but they open a precedent now, with what they have done to us.
“Be careful in the future because many clubs can make suggestions and a lot of clubs can be accused, like we are accused, without being innocent.
“When they push to get rid of us, it is obvious they believe we didn’t behave properly. We can accept that but let us defend ourselves.”
How have Manchester City – the Premier League's most consistent team in recent years – become unreliable on the pitch all of a sudden?
Guardiola has previously said he would leave City if accusations they had broken the rules were proved true.
However, when asked that question again in light of the new charges, the Spaniard insisted he has no intention of quitting his job.
He said: “I am not moving from this seat, I can assure you. I want to stay more than ever.”
Guardiola claimed his players will not be affected by the matter as they prepare to take on Aston Villa at the Etihad on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.
“We have trained like normal to try to beat Aston Villa,” he said. “We will try to play well against a team with a good manager with a lot of experience.
“The players will be focused on our game, for sure.”
Sky Sports News senior reporter Melissa Reddy:
On Friday afternoon, 30 minutes before Pep Guardiola was to be the first Manchester City representative to publicity address the Premier League’s unprecedented scale of charges against the club, the press office was unsure of his mood or appetite to answer such a line of questioning.
Perhaps he’d field the opening few on the over 100 alleged breaches of the top flight’s financial regulations, but then call time so the focus could switch to purely football matters.
Guardiola, clear from his opening gambit of “we’ve already been condemned,” actually had little interest in discussing on-pitch affairs.
Defiant, piercing, and pointing the finger at the other 19 Premier League clubs, City’s manager was on the front foot in a manner not even replicated by his best teams.
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“We are lucky we live in a country where everyone is innocent until proven guilty,” Guardiola said. “We didn’t have this opportunity. We have been sentenced already.”
Guardiola circled around the same narratives, several of which were erroneous in reality.
He said the club “proved we were completely innocent” when the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned UEFA’s two-year Champions League ban.
However, CAS would not consider the legitimacy of the Etisalat payments and sponsorship as it was “time-barred.” Some charges, like those relating to Etihad, were “not established.”
The ruling further stated: “Also acknowledged by MCFC, there was a legitimate basis to prosecute MCFC.”
Guardiola continuously referenced the other 19 teams in the division as being the reason the Premier League brought charges. He also repeated throughout the media briefing that he has absolute trust in City.
Perhaps the two biggest lines to emerge from an extraordinary press conference was Guardiola saying chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak and CEO Ferran Soriano “are more confident” now than they were in combating the UEFA case and he is more steeled to remain as City boss.
“Maybe they have more experience and more information,” Guardiola said.
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“I am not moving from this seat,” he asserted. “I want to stay more than ever. Sometimes I have doubts, seven years already is a long time in any country.
“Now I don’t want to move. Not because people say they lied to you Pep. They didn’t lie to me. Look what happened with UEFA. I said to them: what happened? ‘Pep, we did nothing wrong.’ We proved it. It is the same case.”
Over the coming years, we will find out if a defiant Guardiola is correct or if the Premier League’s unparalleled charge sheet sticks.
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