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Pettigrove: ‘Premier League board handling Man City case like a bunch of cowards’

The Premier League’s Convoluted Legal Battle with Manchester City

Alleged Breaches and Accusations

Right, let’s not beat about the bush. The members of the Premier League board that are in charge of, and are overseeing the painfully slow and mounting legal issues surrounding Manchester City’s 115 alleged breaches of financial regulations are a bunch of lily-livered cowards who don’t have a backbone.

Ineffective Management and Public Perception

Hiding behind the ‘complexity and volume’ of the charges isn’t fooling anyone, and only serves to highlight that those in charge of the game in England are not fit for purpose. The majority of the English top-flight match-going public aren’t fools and the wool can’t be pulled over their eyes either.

Photo: IMAGO

Manchester City’s Legal Advantage

It’s a disgrace that City have been allowed to manoeuvre, delay and circumvent the rules simply because of their best-in-class legal representation and a seemingly bottomless pit of money. Whilst it’s understandable that the Premier League don’t want to make a mis-step at any point during the process, it should not take years to pore over the minutiae, this allowing the accused – in this case Man City – ample time to mount a rock-solid defence.

Comparing Cases Within the League

It may well be that Everton and Nottingham Forest’s charges were easier to navigate simply because of there being a single charge (double now in the Toffees case it would appear). However, it’s those at the Etihad Stadium that should be being made an example if any of the charges are proven. Top down please…

Photo: IMAGO

The Dilemma of Demotion

Of course, it just wouldn’t do to have the best team in Europe and one of the best of the entire Premier League era demoted to a lower league would it. That would mean an admittance that the club have been allowed to ride roughshod over the rule book over the past few years, hoovering up silverware in the process. Silverware that would have to be returned if the charges are proven.

One can only imagine the scale of the embarrassment and loss of credibility to the likes of Chair, Alison Brittain, CEO and Director, Richard Masters, and Independent Non-Executive Directors, Mai Fyfield, Dharma’s Mistry and Matthew Ryder KC – and therein lies the problem. It’s every man or woman for themselves.

Serie A’s Contrasting Approach

When Juventus, Italian football’s most successful ever side, were mired in scandal back in 2006, those in charge of Serie A did the right thing and dealt with the matters arising in a timely and efficient manner. It could be argued that the circumstances were different as the issues were surrounding match-fixing, but the salient point remains. The powers that be got the job done. They didn’t sit on things for years.

Bearing in mind that the investigation into City’s apparent breaches was opened in 2018, it is frankly astonishing that summer 2025 is being given as the earliest possible date when a judgment could be made. City will almost certainly appeal any ruling if it doesn’t fall in their favour, adding significantly more time to when a final decision will be communicated.

Tactical Decisions and Public Image

For Everton and Forest, it’s a far easier ‘win’ for the EPL if those charges are proven, and it allows the Premier League to flex what little muscle they evidently possess. Arguably, Masters et al are in it up to their necks and they know it because the world of football is watching their every move and acknowledging their shortcomings. Waiting to see how they wriggle out of the mess they’ve undoubtedly created for themselves.

If, and we’re all aware it’s a very big ‘if,’ City are completely exonerated, and there’s no proof of foul play, then everyone needs to hold their hands up. However, only the severest of punishments will suffice if even a tenth of those charges are proven, and it’s at that point we’ll understand just how cowed and inadequate those who are running the ‘best league in the world’ really are.

Jason Pettigrove
Jason Pettigrovehttp://www.jasonpettigrove.com
Freelance football journalist specialising in La Liga, working for a large variety of print and digital media. All enquiries to [email protected]
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