City chairman 'frustrated' with finance references

Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has said he is frustrated that the club’s achievements on the pitch are clouded by accusations of financial irregularity.

City were crowned champions for a record fourth consecutive year to make it six Premier League titles in seven seasons.

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But for many outside the club, the unprecedented success is tainted by allegations that they have breached the Premier League’s financial rules.

City were hit with more than 100 charges in February 2023. A hearing is set to start in November, more than 18 months after the accusations were first made public by the Premier League.

“Of course, it’s frustrating,” Khaldoon said in an interview given to City’s official club channels.

“I think the referencing is always frustrating. Having it being talked about the way it’s being talked about. I can feel for our fanbase, and everyone associated with the club, to have these charges constantly referenced.

“I think we as a club have to respect that there is a process that we have to go through, and we’re going through it.

“It’s taking longer than what anyone hoped for, but it is what it is, and I’ve always repeated, let’s be judged by the facts, and not by claims and counterclaims.”

It was revealed on Monday that City are hitting back at the Premier League with a legal challenge to the competition’s associated party transaction rules (APT) in a separate legal case to the charges they face for allegedly breaching the division’s financial rules.

A private arbitration hearing is set to begin next week. Khaldoon, speaking in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, was not specifically asked about the legal proceedings against the Premier League but did hint that the level of regulation may stop City and other clubs from spending heavily on new players during the summer transfer window.

“I think the Premier League got to where it is today by being the most competitive league,” Khaldoon said.

“So, I hope there is a bit more sensibility in regulating. Always a balanced approach is good from all the leagues, be it in England or the rest of Europe.

“I think you won’t see the same level [of transfer spend] as we’ve seen in the last years, because of the levels of regulations that have come into place over the last 12 months.

“I think the level of manoeuvrability that was in place before that allowed teams to do what they were able to do in the past, I think, is much more restricted this year and that’s going to be reflected, I believe, this summer.”

As well as re-shaping the squad, the future of manager Pep Guardiola is also on City’s agenda this summer. Guardiola has one year left on his contract and has hinted that, after eight years, he’s coming to the end of his time in charge at the Etihad Stadium. Khaldoon said a decision on Guardiola’s future will be “taken together” with the club when the time is right.

“We have had this conversation many times before, you know that, over the years of the contract,” Khaldoon said.

“Pep has always been fully committed to this club, fully committed to every contract that he has signed with us. This decision on his future is always a decision that we will take together, and I have no doubt that we will find, as always we have done, the right solution that works for Pep and works for us.”

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