Premier League title race: Greg Dyke and Uefa rain on Manchester City’s parade
FA chairman believes it's 'pretty depressing' that City could win the title
Manchester City’s likely coronation as Premier League title-winners on Sunday will be shrouded in controversy, with the FA chairman, Greg Dyke, declaring it “pretty depressing” if a side regularly featuring only two Englishmen are champions and Uefa about to impose severe penalties on the club for at least the next two seasons.
Dyke has risked causing another storm just days after his endorsement of the proposal to create a new league for Premier clubs’ B teams by criticising the number of foreigners fielded by City. Manuel Pellegrini’s side need just a point from their final game, at home to West Ham today, to clinch their second title in three years.
“The Premiership has been brilliant,” Dyke said. “But I think there are probably two [regular] England players at City and two or three at Chelsea, although there won’t be that many next year. That’s pretty depressing.”
But the looming Uefa punishment is a bigger calamity for City, who are understood to have failed Uefa’s Financial Fair Play test with an apparent total loss of £200 million (£160m) after the governing body struck out two huge income figures the club believed would reduce those losses and get them over the line.
City now face a difficult choice between accepting the governing body’s finding – effectively admitting they have artificially inflated their own income – or appealing against the decision, which, as The Independent revealed last week, would mean risking a ban from next season’s Champions’ League. Uefa appear satisfied that City’s £350m Etihad sponsorship deal was not an artificial way of Abu Dhabi pumping money into the club. But they have evidently taken a dim view of the £22.45m City claimed as income from the sale of intellectual property to “related parties”, and possibly a further £24.5m the club claimed as earnings from image rights’ sales.
With some or all elements of those income figures removed, City have failed the FFP test by a wide margin. Critically, they cannot therefore use a vital exemption clause, allowing them to subtract £80m in wages for players signed before June 2010. That only applies to clubs which meet FFP rules.
That appears to leave City with a £160m FFP loss - the limit is £37m - and as deeply over budget in FFP terms as Paris Saint-Germain. But the club’s problems are compounded by the fact that the FFP calculations for the 2015-16 season are based around a totting up of the three previous seasons’ financial figures. Even if City break even in the current financial year – as they expect to do – they would still record a possible loss of £163m from the three years which will be taken into consideration for the 2015-16 campaign..
Two Englishmen – Joe Hart and James Milner – have played regularly for City this season. Of the rest, Joleon Lescott last played a Premier League game on 22 March, Micah Richards on 10 November, and Jack Rodwell, signed from Everton in the summer of 2012, has started one League game.
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