Man City relegation 'precedent' set as Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham await 115 charges verdict

Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City, looks on as he smokes a cigar whilst on the Open Top Bus during the Manchester City trophy parade on May 26, 2024
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Ben Roberts Photo/Getty Images)

The Premier League might use Swindon Town's enforced top-flight relegation in 1990 as a legal precedent for Manchester City's punishment if they are found guilty of financial breaches, it has been suggested.

Swindon, who had just secured promotion from the second tier, were demoted two divisions after being discovered to have illegitimately channelled revenue towards player wages. On appeal, the Robins saw their penalty reduced to a one-division relegation.

Given the unprecedented nature of the case relating to the Premier League's 115 charges against Man City, there is speculation that relegation could be on the cards if the club is found guilty. The Premier League winners stand accused of illicit finance sourcing and non-cooperation for matters between 2009 and 2018 – allegations which they vehemently deny, pledging to clear their name.

The hearing before an independent panel is set to commence in November and it's anticipated to last approximately six weeks, not including any appeals. The Times suggests that the Premier League could utilise Swindon's case from 24 years ago as a benchmark for what punishment City could face if they are ultimately found guilty of breaching finance rules.

The independent panel for Everton's appeal over their 10-point deduction used previous EFL penalty guidelines as a reference point when they reduced the sanction to six points. In a separate legal battle, Man City are challenging the Premier League over Associated Party Transaction [APT] rules, which they claim are unlawful, and are seeking damages.

These rules stipulate that the League has the authority to request information if it suspects that sponsorship deals between entities connected with club owners have been inflated, thus providing more leeway within spending limits.

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Ahead of the new season, Premier League clubs voted in favour of adopting new finance rules that are non-binding and will, for the time being, mirror the current set of rules. A proposal has been made for a spending cap based on a multiple of the bottom club's TV revenue.