Carlos Tevez was last night facing the prospect of the heaviest fine in British football history, though his legal battle may drag on for weeks as he fights the findings of Manchester City's inquiry which has found there is a case for him to answer for contract breaches.
Tevez may receive a fine of six weeks' wages – £1.5m – and/or a six-week ban, after the club's two-week investigation into manager Roberto Mancini's allegation that he refused to take the field when the club were 2-0 down at Bayern Munich last month found that "there is a case for Carlos Tevez to answer, of alleged breaches of contract".
Tevez demanded that Mancini retract his allegation when he met his employers in central London yesterday, but despite his claim that 15 statements support his version of events in Munich, it is understood that City's internal inquiry has turned up no evidence that contradicts Mancini's case. Tevez claims that he refused to warm up, rather than to play, and is ready to appeal against any sanction the club imposes on him through the club's main board, and the Premier League if necessary. City are understood believe that the mere failure to warm up itself constitutes a serious breach of his £250,000-a-week contract.
Tevez has been asked to present himself at training at Carrington today, where Mancini will tell him he is working with the reserves.
Sacking Tevez is not an option but the lesser sanction of a fine or extended ban still threatens to drag the club through a legal battle. Tevez will appear on Monday or Tuesday next week at a club disciplinary hearing, chaired by a member of City's executive leadership team. If that hearing supports the internal inquiry's findings, he may then appeal to the main board and then appeal to a Premier League arbitration panel. The 27-year-old believes this could take him up to Christmas.
City's confidence is based on the fact that the Professional Footballers' Association are understood to agree that the club are right to fine or suspend Tevez for more than the usual two-week maximum. A six-week fine will take him way beyond the £150,000 and five-game ban handed to Manchester United's Roy Keane over the account of his challenge on City's Alfie Haaland in his 2002 autobiography.
Sergio Aguero will be fit again for City's Champions League tie against Villarreal next Tuesday. Mario Balotelli has recovered from a back injury to play Aston Villa at the weekend.Reuse content