Premier League

Man City have made ‘a mockery of FFP, the PL and the country of England’ amid ‘expulsion’ claims

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Man City have made ‘a mockery of FFP, the PL and the country of England’ amid ‘expulsion’ claims



The Mailbox reacts to reports that Man City could face ‘expulsion’ from the Premier League if they are found guilty of their 115 financial charges. Plus, Ben White, the EFL, Kobbie Mainoo and more…


Man City, English Pride & FFP

Man City, English pride and FFP are all intertwined, all leaning on each other, but for who’s benefit?


The owners of Man City have invested in the English game – and world football – as a form of soft power. Something to legitimize their country and countries regime. They do this because it works. The UAE, like Qatar, have been put on the map in no small part thanks to their football strategies. Paving over the questionable ways in which they have risen through the world country standings.


Something unique to England, is that it is the creator of the sport itself. An English game is the worlds biggest game, most adored and most followed by the planets citizens. There is no event that attracts as many eyes simultaneously as the World Cup Final.


People have asked why would the PL and other football entities introduce FFP? Why regulate the game within the island of Britain? Why make rules that limit the scalability of smaller clubs over a short period of time?


English pride. Many oil rich nations have invested hard in the game just to gain some of its legitimacy. England literally created the game, and runs the worlds best league. What some pay billions to be associated with, it literally has running through English veins & culture. Billions get poured into England just to get a glimpse of it.


This is why England is, and must regulate the PL. It is synonymous with the English brand, and with that, its credibility. If they allow for dirty money to come in, and said money allowed to cheat and discredit the brand, then it is not just bad for the PL, or European football, but the country of England itself(Russians learned this after the invasion of Ukraine, although, there were question marks before).


Very few countries can import hundreds of millionaires yearly into its economy, to ultimately supply it with a multi-billion pound industry. One that is the envy of the world.


FFP was designed in part to prevent league titles from being bought (City, PSG, Blackburn, Chelsea), to prevent clubs from being ruined due to financial mismanagement (Leeds, Blackburn, Portsmouth, Valencia, Barca, Everton, City & more), and to create a level playing field in terms of operating within the same set of rules for each team. It is not perfect, but it makes sense.


What City have done, is make a mockery of FFP, and by extension, the PL and country of England itself. It has taken potentially Englands greatest export, used it to mask misdeeds, and then laugh in its face as it mocks those who regulate it. It has taken a semi-fair competition, and paid its way to the top (albeit with sound structural business decisions). I have no issue with the football they played, or how they were coached in winning what they won, but the issue comes with how it was attained.


It would be like the PL each decade deciding only one team gets one extra transfer window, each season, for a decade. That, plus unlimited spending on coaches and coaching staff, and the only team allowed to bypass rules for signing youth players. Man City should be the pride of England, but they are not, and we – just like they – know why. FFP cannot be taken seriously with them breaking the rules. The PL cannot be taken seriously if one team can have a special advantage over the rest. Man City cannot be taken seriously knowingly all of this.


The PL must act, and act with just cause. FFP has shown backbone this season, and that does not pose positively for Man City’s future. City have not cooperated, and will face the consequences for their actions.


I do not think a 690 point penalty – cumulatively – makes any sense. Rather, I would think they should be given a 5-10 point fine for each year in question, relegation to either the Championship, league 1, or even league 2. While the titles can never be replayed, they should either go the losers/2nd place, or just removed altogether. A massive fine should be imposed, and clubs affected should be compensated with that. Finally, Man City should be put under supervision from a PL regulator for a period of at least 3 years as they return to the ascendancy.


This could leave City in the Championship for 2 seasons, potentially 3-4 if the were relegated from the Championship due to the points fine. Their academy and multi owned approach means they could easily bring quality youth players to succeed, while also leaving them with quality after they’ve sold stars to cover their losses. After 3 years, they should be a PL team, with clean books, and a fair playing field for all those involved.


So for the PL, FFP and England itself to keep its credibility, it needs to do what is appropriate. While Man City and their fans may disagree, or believe their lawyers will money their way out, for the greater good, the goal must be to restore fairness, accountability, and integrity to the league, allowing all teams to compete on equal terms.


Stronger rules can create a stronger league, which in turn creates a stronger country. This benefits not only the fans of the Premier League and the game itself but also the citizens of England, rather than catering to a Sheikh seeking to buy success and a modicum of moral integrity.


The citizen’s of City need to become citizens of the game.


Man City FFP

I wrote to you as a Spurs fan who has been watching the FFP rules finally being applied to the Premier League, something that should have been actioned been many years ago.


The FA has to Stop the abuse of the rules. They are as culpable as the abusers because they turned a blind eye to all the abuse over they years. All clubs are accountable to their shareholders apart from those owned by countries, such as Man City, Chelsea, and now Newcastle. Those clubs set ‘the standard’ and others tried to follow and gambled their finances to try to compete. Not many can compete on that abusive basis and risk liquidation or winding up.


We want a level playing field for one and all, with a set of financial rules that apply across all divisions and that are not open to abuse.


We can’t all be winners of trophies but we can operate our clubs on a maximising our potential within our means basis allied to our to attract as well as develop good players. There should be no room for abusers and cheats.

Many thanks,

Charles boyadjian




As funny as it is to make the jokes about what the league might look like without Manchester City if they were to get something approaching a reasonable punishment for their years financial doping, there is a rather more bleak reality that we could be faced with.


If the Citizens were to get hit hard, the question wouldn’t be about whether Arsenal or Liverpool would top the league. I’d give it a year before the top of the Barclays is made up of Aston Villa, West Ham, Brighton, Wolves, Fulham… because the “Big Six / Seven” financial big-hitters of the league will have buggered off to the European Super League that has very definitely not gone away as long as there are men with more money than god and an insatiable desire to create themselves another trough to swill from.

None of the big institutions would be prepared to stomach the risk of actually being held to account (pun very much intended). Why would they? These clubs took their little fines and crawled back to their respective leagues, when the tide of public opinion was very much against them and the ESL plans fizzled out last time. But fans are fickle. Are United or Liverpool supporters going to be quite as opposed to the ESL idea if the Premier League shows itself to be a bit less toothless in the pursuit of financial wrongdoing. Suddenly these clubs face the prospect of losing some of their key assets to your Real’s, Barca’s and PSG’s, just to balance the books. Not quite so many marquee signings. I’m not suggesting any other members of the Prem’s upper echelons have done anything amiss, but a year or two without Champions’ League football, an unexpected change of ownership, and it suddenly becomes a tightrope. Hello, Chelsea fans. Even if the fans are still opposed, this could be the tipping point at which the opinions of the ‘customers’ become secondary to the owners.


Maybe as a Spurs fan, I’m giving my club too much credit in suggesting it’d be a big seven. I know they tried to hang onto the coat tails of the superclubs last time but perhaps Newcastle’s new found riches will propel them into the conversation at Spurs’ expense and they’re left behind with the masses. But I bet they’d still go another 30 years without a trophy because Spursy.


Anyway, the powers that be at the Premier League simply wouldn’t inflict the kind of self harm that would come from seriously punishing one of the globally recognised brands and, in so doing, hurt the overall ‘product’. Sorry, Everton and Forest; you’re just not important enough to the overall brand to be above the law. So City will likely get off with little more than a slap on the wrist. And we all know, deep down, that if someone at Premier League HQ were to briefly have a rush of blood to their principles and ethics, that would soon be quelled by a carefully placed brown envelope full of <redacted>. Sorry, I mean a brown envelope full of detailed and transparent financial records clearing the club of all charges.


I need cheering up after that. Have there been any VAR disasters today for me to laugh at or woke football shirts I can amuse myself with?

Chris Bridgeman, Kingston upon Thames




I don’t think the clubs should be punished for breaking ffp rules.The owners and directors should be punished.


Expulsion vs relegation

By City’s own actions, and as expressly stated by their owner, they absolutely do not care about innocence. They care about obfuscating and not cooperating. To that end, their future – at their own behest – will perpetually be either pending a verdict, or pending an appeal. So let them drag it out. Levenshulme Blue can talk about time-barred till he’s blue in the face. There’s a level of stoic peace you get from knowing that Pep, De Bruyne, Silva and all the others alongside Kompany and Aguero, will have retired before all this is done, so there’s no hope any of their efforts with City will get lasting recognition during their careers. Are they the greatest Prem side, ever? Dunno, Asterisk. Is it De Bruyne or Scholes? Dunno, Asterisk. Fergie or Pep? Pep or Klopp? Dunno, Asterisk. Is four-in-a-row better than the Invincibles? Dunno, Asterisk. Should Haaland (or in fact any City player, at all) get a Ballon D’or? It’ll never happen, but dunno, Asterisk. Does this mean more? Dunno, Asterisk.

That to me is the fine. Let the lawyers have their field-day. We’ve seen the refined PSR rules have had a meaningful impact on the sustainability of institutions; less manic gambling with money. The future is getting better. City will be the legacy of the old world. They may even epitomise and even become the name of it.


That being said, just for a hypothetical – because we are years away from a final verdict – but is there clarity as to whether “expulsion from the premier league” is the same as ‘relegation’.


If ‘relegation’, then I’d assume City would, if found guilty, be taking the place of the club that finished 18th, and joining the Championship. As-is the existing relationship between the two leagues.


But if “expulsion” – what does that mean? Basically, the inverse problem to 2005-06, after Liverpool won the Champions League but the Prem was unwilling to take away a qualifying berth from Everton who’d finished fourth. Liverpool had to find an appropriate level of the Champions league to gain eligibility in to, rather than where winners normally get a place.


Obviously I’m sure some Championship clubs would welcome city with open arms, as it’d likely increase matchday income when the circus comes to town. But the counter argument is, that makes promotion hopes harder. Would it be up to the Football League to confirm where they re-join? Would City have to gain entry lower into the football Pyramid, at League Two?


If so, that to me seems the fairest answer, rather than a perpetual points deduction. If they re-enter there, they would be able to get back into the Prem in circa 3 years. And (I think) the PSR rules take your profitability from an average of a 3 year period? So by the time they return to the Prem their ill-gotten financial model would have been re-set.

Tom G


Missing the City point?

I have read your articles relating to the potential punishments against City, which are all fine work, but I sense you may be missing the bigger point.


You are looking at this from the PL/football regulator standpoint, but I don’t really see that as the big issue. By all means, you can strip them of titles and winnings, but the big issue likely comes from the private prosecutions, depending on the clubs. Simply handing over the silverware to those that finished second, as well as the winners cheques will have an impact, but what of those that have been relegated, knocked out of competitions, or would have qualified for, say, the CL next stages? The only way for many of these clubs to gain redress is to sue the club, depending on the rulings and convictions, and this is the big elephant in the room.

To my mind, should City be convicted of financial fraud/cheating, there will be a slew of cases brought. The result will be that City will no longer exist as a club as the owners cannot pay the bills from their own pockets, thanks to FFP. It isn’t a case of being kicked down one or ten divisions, it is absolutely existential – they will be declared bankrupt and wound up, needing to do an AFC Wimbledon to have any representation. I just think it is worth highlighting as this isn’t limited to a simple judgement on one punishment.

Nick in Woking


How to shoot yourself in the foot

The Ben White story will trundle on during the international break – particularly one with mostly friendly games.


The Brazil game was a stark reminder that this England team are not blessed with the defensive quality of past England squads – particular at centre back – but also at full back with the number of injuries and aging options. But this isn’t a surprise and Southgate’s obstinacy in not testing viable options is leaving England vulnerable. Even Quansah, who didn’t get a game for the U-21s is likely a better option than Maguire.


Even when Southgate’s options were younger and not injured he felt the need for two DMs. All this limiting England’s superior attacking play and reducing options by one player. It’s hard playing a press at international level as it takes practice, especially as many club sides implement the press differently. It’s risky if the team aren’t in sync but pressing has the ability to create an extra attacker.


But back to Ben White. Most people will come into a job were they end up reporting directly or indirectly to a manager who is a complete knob. It’s said that people don’t leave a job, they leave a manager.


Playing for your national team is no different. Clearly White has no problem with a micro manager like Arteta. So it’s not a work ethic. And he is playing excellently for the most in the form club side in the country at this time. He’s decided, as many of us would who have the option, to ‘leave their manager.’ (Okay, not join, but the same end result.)


When, as a manager, you think you have plenty of talent to choose from, the risk is to get too full of yourself and less careful in how you treat your staff. In this case, the circumstances changed, and now Holland’s ‘I’m the big f*cking man’ antics have blown up in England’s managements faces. Isn’t it hypocritical to under perform as a manager by screaming at a player for, in your eyes, under performing in some aspect of their game?

I heard one pundit suggest Southgate show White and Arsenal who’s the boss by penalizing them and having White suspended for his next club game. The irony clearly lost on the pundit, that England would be doubling down on the same bankrupt attitude. I’d love to see them try, just to read all the stuff that would be dragged into the open after any appeal by Arsenal – and appeal they would. And win. And it wouldn’t do Southgate’s or Holland’s reputation good.


The fact Holland has hidden behind Southgate has only tarnished his character further. If Southgate goes to a club side, it’s not likely he’d be bringing Holland with him now or that the club side would want him. It’s hard enough finding, coaching and retaining top talent – especially talent that meets the EPL’s local quotient – without p*ssing them off. If he’d won EPL’s, CL’s like Ferguson, he might earn that right but…

Paul McDevitt


Why does the EPL have to pay the EFL a damn thing?

Dear Sir


During the hell that is an international break I found my mind wandering during a particularly boring work meeting. Someone was banging on about the genesis of something or other and that got me thinking about the evolution of football and then onto the independent regulator that the government wants to impose on the game.


That in turn lead my musings to the payment that the regulator may have to impose onto the Premier League. That got me asking why? Why does the EPL have to pay the EFL a damn thing? If it was written in the original breakaway agreement, why is it being amended? If not, why is anything being paid?


Shouldn’t all teams operate within their own budget? We’ve been told for years that football is a business as well as a luxury. It is not like the steel, aviation or automotive industry. Why do the less successful teams need a subsidy?

The league expanded to 92 clubs in 1950. Can someone tell me where it is written that there must always be 92 professional clubs in operation. Did that number come down from footballs Mt Sinai?


Now people may say, how dare you, this system is sacrosanct. Well get over it. Times change, things progress, and new ideas replace old.


If EFL teams want to survive in this modern-day multi-club time why not partner with a Premier League team or a higher EFL team. Why shouldn’t Gillingham partner with Chelsea or Crew with Man U. I don’t see why Liverpool can’t work with Blackpool.


I ask why is football so scared of change? Proper football man, old columnist from the 4th estate and radio phone-in man often lament: “Why did they need change the game, its fine as it was”.

Really, so 3G pitches aren’t better than the quagmire (not that one – giggidy) you see from the 70’s. Oh, you didn’t mean that change. Zero to 5 substitutions, hmm, that’s fine as well. Floodlights, better balls, better boot, better diets, safer stadiums ect. So PFM, some changes are good!!


In my view football needs to understand that things move on an evolve – does Apple have to pay Ericsson. Did Tesco pay Safeway? How about Kodak and the digital camera?


I am sure the respective inventors of the audio and VHS tapes would love CD and DVD to sub them… oh wait…

Ian H


Mainoo getting way too much hype, everyone chill out!

Given Mainoo came on against Brazil for England at the Age of 18, it is certainly a great achievement from the lad and his performances this season for United have warranted that. He can handle pressure and keeps possession with great ability, his potential is massive and his feet and skill are there to see for sure.


However, I think being a United player and being English as well doesn’t help him at all in the sense he is getting so much hype from the media, with each pundit sucking him off left, right & centre. It is good to compliment, but he has only played 23 games of senior professional football in his entire career, I think people need to relax about the kid otherwise his potential is going to completely get ruined. It has happened with players in the past such as Michael Johnson, Jack Wilshere & Micah Richards etc, the list goes on with the media hyping up these players so much, they become naturally become complacent and drop their performance levels & professionalism after getting that first big contract from their clubs.


So just let the guy play and grow for United over the next 2 years and see what happens, he won’t even be 21 years old in two years time! Hopefully he gets some good professional, talented players & midfielders alongside him next season given Casemiro has forgotten how to play football this season and some other players in the squad just being kind of mediocre and not the best example. Players like McTominay & Rashford are good examples as they came through the Academy as well, even though Rashford does seem like a bit of a snob, but I think with Hojiland and Garnacho being a similar age group, as well as Diallo, he has two to three players who he can compete with and help him add that extra drive in trying to be the best in training and also big games too.

Rami, Dubai


Racism in football…we ain’t there yet

70 year old white (est guy on the beach) ex Pat Utd fan here.Been visiting relatives in Philly and not paid any attention to the internationals. However, just turned on t’internet at 9:20 pm my time and looked at Guardian sports page and the first thing I see is a picture of Vinicius Jr. whom I’ve heard of but never seen him play but apparently is a rising star at those Spanish t***s (I’m allowed tribal club dislikes) Real Madrid. BUT what I and any true football supporter, is not allowed is to turn that tribal emotion into an attack on a players race, creed etc. I can hold opinions that Vinicius Jr. is brilliant/not all that/lucky to be playing in a team that suits him etc…(delete where applicable) whenever I do actually get to see him play and if he scores against Utd in the near future (OK not likely to be soon) I can get annoyed at the deflection/lack of marking/ he didn’t mean that shot the lucky so and so…yep another etcetera and then probably slowly accept “Yeah that was good” as in so many goals against us in the past and give grudging respect.

So to see a picture of a young man (still a boy?) obviously mentally suffering for the crime of joyously playing the game at the highest level which was all of our dreams at that age because of … I don’t have enough swear words, it breaks my heart. I’ve nearly given up on football a number of times in the past… Utd hooligans in Europe in the late 60s early 70s; Heysel, Bradford Fire, Rangers crush, Hillsborough…our greatest rivals have suffered as much as we have. Coincidence?


Anyway, back to racism. The first black player I remember seeing was Clyde Best who played for West Ham who I first saw when I was a mid teenager. Clyde was a Powerfully built goalscoring forward who scored a lot (older WHU fans can correlate) of goals. He took dog’s abuse and was expected to take it as black players were “OK as muscle but weren’t very bright” My younger self knew that this stereotype was self evident. Then we had the West Brom “3 Degrees” Batson, Chamberlain and (the incomparable) Cyrille Regis in the late 70s. These guys fitted the other stereotype… they were the freewheeling jazz footballers…good time guys who we could enjoy and put back in their box. Then there was the anomaly, John Barnes…erm an intellectual black guy? Ohh; it’s OK…he’s actually one of us because he’s upper class Jamaican….pity about the colour but now we can show that we aren’t racist.


And then…And then…there came this hated Crystal Palace and Arsenal gobshite, Ian Wright. “Who the Hell does he think he is? Squaring up to Brucey and Schmeicel? Doesn’t he know his place? Effing Twat!” We Utd fans despised him! But Thank God, he didn’t know his place and young black players such as Andy Cole lifted up their chins and began…slowly… to realise that it was OK to fully realise their God Given talent withstanding the shit that was still going to come at them (John Barnes banana collection anyone?..John knew his place I should mention and it was far above the terrace morons!…pity he played for Liverpool and not the true Reds…ah well)

I’ll stop rambling…3rd glass of wine is kicking in…but let me finish…Vinicius Jr. I will never meet you but this is an old white man giving you a virtual shoulder to cry on and I want you to know you have an adoring fan for life…even if I grit my teeth when you complete your hat trick at Old (New?) Trafford.


Much love to all…we hate each other’s teams but that doesn’t mean we can’t love each other.

Gary (Ex Pat Utd Fan in Pennsylvania) B

England Jersey “Controversy”…..Not that one

Can we please, please stop going on about the new England jersey costing £125 in every laughable opinion piece on the “woke” jersey snore-a-thon.


Yes, there is a version that is £125 but who honestly knows anyone who is stupid enough to buy the “authentic Match day” version. I would guess a low estimate of 90% of the jerseys bought are the standard version so quoting the £125 price is just sensationalist bull s***. Don’t get me wrong, the standard jersey price is also ridiculous, but every article quoting the top jersey price of £125, is the equivalent of using Notting Hill house prices in an article about first time buyers not being able to get a start on the property ladder.


To be honest the most surprising thing about my grievance on this is that it hasn’t been picked up by mediawatch.


Rashford negativity

Looking at that article about Rashford taking over the “unwanted record” as the highest sub appearances for England and it really shows that anything that can be concocted that paints him in a negative light will be printed.


It names tournaments that he has gone to and not been first choice. Proceeds to name tournaments that happened when he was 18 and 20. I’d say he was doing pretty well to be at them at all never mind coming on in them.


The only thing mentioned about the next tournament is that he missed a penalty. Maybe England would have scored more than 2 goals in the group stage if he’d played more? Regardless he didn’t really have the chance to do much despite making appearances in most matches.


In the world cup he was one of England’s better players despite coming off the bench.


Seems like an unnecessarily negative framing of someone who has made 59 appearances for England while being 26. But wouldn’t be the first time you guys looked to tear down your own players for no reason.


Feel less animosity to the current England bunch and hope they do well which hasn’t always been the case. Helps that there is a capped Irishman patching the midfield together I guess.

Fionn Mac Cumhaill (Belfast)

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