Pep Guardiola has pleaded for a quick resolution over Man City’s alleged breaches of Premier League financial rules but promised he will stay on as manager regardless of the investigation’s outcome.
Man City, champions in five of the last six seasons, had their case referred to an independent commission by the Premier League in February after being charged with over 100 breaches of financial rules spanning from 2009/10 to 2017/18, but the club unequivocally deny the allegations.
Guardiola was adamant that City were innocent when the charges emerged and said the club had already been “condemned” as he put to rest any fears he could be tempted to leave the Etihad.
The City manager has reiterated his desire to remain in post and says the club “want to defend our principles”.
“I will stay next season,” Guardiola said ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Brighton – live on Sky Sports.
“I will stay. When 100 breaches from the Premier League against us, don’t worry, we will be there.”
Reports suggest the process could stretch on for years, but Guardiola wants a decision to be made quickly “for the benefit of everyone” as the charges cast an awkward shadow over his side’s title celebrations.
“What I would like is for the Premier League, or the judges, to make [a decision] as soon as possible,” he added.
“Maybe we did something wrong, everyone will know it, and if we are like we believe we are, like we have done as a club for many years in the right way, then the people stop talking about that. We would love it tomorrow.
“Hopefully they are not so busy, and judges can see it and listen to both sides, and at the end decide what is the best. Because in the end I know firmly that what we won on the pitch we deserve it, I don’t have any doubts.”
Asked if it had been a frustrating wait, he added: “We accept it is there. If it happens, it happens. So let’s go. Come on, 24 hours, let’s go, sit down, talk, both sides, lawyers present, don’t wait one year, three years, why not do it quickly?
“Come on. As soon as possible, for the benefit of everyone. But I know there are many cases around the world, injustices. Hopefully we can do it as soon as possible.”
Guardiola is just two games – the FA Cup final against Man Utd and the Champions League final against Inter Milan – from winning the treble with City, a feat only Sir Alex Ferguson has achieved in English football.
Asked if winning it all could tempt him to call a day on his time at City, Guardiola, who has a deal until 2025, said: “Right now I’m not thinking of leaving. But, who knows?
“I would like to continue next season here, independent of the results, but I don’t know how it is going to feel, winning or losing, the two finals ahead of us.
“I still have a contract, and when I sign I want to respect the clubs.”
Neville: City charges need to be accelerated
Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville:
“I have a real problem with FFP, I’ve had it for a long time. It was driven through by the established elite so that clubs like City and Chelsea couldn’t compete with them, so basically they could always pat them on the head and say ‘stay down’.
“No one ever complains about Jack Walker buying the league 30 years ago (with Blackburn). FFP wasn’t in at that point, but no one ever complains about that – and I think a new Jack Walker of any town should be able to drive their team forward. I like the idea that Sunderland one day could compete for the Champions League and the Premier League title again.
“But if under FFP you’re only allowed to spend the money that your income allows you, then you’ll always be maintained down there. So I don’t like the rule to start with, so I have some sympathy with City on that particular point.
“There’s no doubt that for Manchester City, their owners and their executives, if some of the most serious of these charges were to be brought forward and they were to be found guilty of them, then the damage would be long-lasting and it would be tainting.
“However, on the other side, I must say, if the Premier League were not to see through these charges then the damage to their executive would be equally long-lasting. There is a massive pressure moment coming in the next couple of years. It’s something that really isn’t going to go away until it’s dealt with.
“I have to say if they can accelerate it forward – and we need due process and law, you’ve got to let it take its course – but this is a sporting situation, it’s not a criminal situation like in a normal court. Let’s move it forward and try and get it closed as quickly as possible.”
Carra: City have an asterisk until this is sorted out
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher:
Manchester City don’t want this, supporters don’t want it, the Premier League don’t want it.
“It’s not good when we’re talking about one of the great teams of all time in the Premier League – and manager – and there’s this asterisk above it until this is sorted out.
“My message to Manchester City would be that this needs to get sorted sooner rather than later, for your own reputation.
“There’s no doubt about it, if they’re found guilty of all this then everything will be tainted.”