Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola broke his silence for the first time after the club was charged by the Premier League for alleged breaches of financial regulations and accused the other clubs of conspiring against the club, who are also the defending champions in the league.
Earlier this week, the club was charged by the Premier League of more than alleged 100 breaches of financial regulations and referred the matter to an independent commission for investigation.
The charges are related to a nine-year period from 2009 onwards but City has said that they are “surprised” and “welcome a review of this matter”.
Asked if he felt other clubs had been driving the issue, Guardiola was quoted as saying by Sky Sports: “Of course – it is the Premier League. I do not know why. You have to ask the CEOs, Daniel Levy, these kinds of people.”
He also referenced the conduct of many clubs during the process which saw City initially being handed a two-year ban by UEFA.
“Nine teams – Burnley, Wolves, Leicester, Newcastle, Spurs, Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea – (wrote a letter wanting us) out of the Champions League, that they wanted that position. It is not an unprecedented story, it is the second time. We lived that before, two or three years ago,” said the boss.
“You accuse us – we should be out, but between those nine teams before and the 19 teams now, between their word and the word of my people, I am sorry but I rely on the words of my people,” Guardiola added.
Pep is convinced that his club is innocent and they have been “sentenced already”.
“My first thought is we have already been condemned,” the City boss said.
“We are lucky we live in a country where everyone is innocent until proven guilty. We did not have this opportunity. We have been sentenced already.”
“What is going to happen, I do not know. We have good lawyers and I know we are going to defend our position,” Guardiola concluded his point.
City was previously banned from European competition for breaching UEFA’s financial fair play regulations, but it was overturned following an appeal made to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2020.
Guardiola is confident that his club will prove their innocence again.
“This happened with UEFA, it is the same,” he said.
“The same articles, the same accusations. We will defend ourselves like what happened in the UEFA situation. The court will dictate what happens. I am fully convinced that we will be innocent. Since Abu Dhabi took over the club, it has been like that since day one,” added the boss.
City could face heavy punishment in case they are found guilty, which includes point deductions and expulsion from Premier League.
Guardiola said that he is going nowhere. He had previously said that he will leave if the allegations of accusations prove to be true.
“I am not moving from this seat, I can assure you. I want to stay more than ever,” concluded Guardiola.
City is in the second position in the PL table with 45 points, 14 wins in 21 games. They are five points behind table-toppers Arsenal and will be taking on Aston Villa on Sunday. (ANI)