Manchester City have been “already sentenced” over alleged financial rule breaches, says manager Pep Guardiola.
A two-year ban from European competitions for breaching Uefa’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) in 2020.
“The club proved they were completely innocent,” said Guardiola.
“What’s happened since Monday is the same as what happened with Uefa. We have already been condemned.
“You have to understand that 19 teams in the Premier League are accusing us without us having the ability to defend.
“We are lucky we live in a marvellous country where everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
“We didn’t have this opportunity, we are already sentenced. I am fully convinced we will be [proven] innocent.”
The Premier League has referred City to an independent commission over alleged rule breaches between 2009 and 2018, during which time the club won three of their six Premier League titles.
It also accused City of not co-operating since the investigation started in December 2018.
The commission can impose punishments ranging from a fine and points deduction to expulsion from the Premier League.
City, who were bought by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008, said they were “surprised” by the charges and their innocence is supported by a “body of irrefutable evidence”.
Guardiola reiterated that confidence in a defiant news conference on Friday, during which he also said he believes the charges have been driven by rival clubs.
When asked if he believed that was the case, he said: “Of course – it is the Premier League. I don’t know why. You have to ask the CEOs.
“They have opened a precedent right now, what they have done to us.
“Be careful, be careful in the future, as there’s a lot of clubs that have been accused like we have without being innocent, who knows what will happen in the future?
“They believe that we didn’t behave properly, we can accept that, but let us defend when we believe we did it properly.”
Guardiola previously said he would leave City if allegations they broke financial rules were proven.
However, he said he had no intention of quitting on Friday, adding: “I am not moving from this seat, I can assure you. I want to stay more than ever.”
The Spaniard said he would not be concerned even if City were relegated by the commission.
“We have already been in the lower divisions,” he said. “We will be back there – not a problem.
“We will call Paul Dickov and Mike Summerbee and we will do again.
“But they should wait. We are going to defend ourselves, like we did in the Uefa situation.”
Guardiola said he does not know what will happen next but has received reassurances of City’s innocence from the club’s hierarchy.
“We have a good lawyer, not that Uefa had bad lawyers,” he added.
“And I think the Premier League, supported by 19 teams, are going to take good lawyers too, to defend their position.
“I would have loved to wait and to find out what happens but just in case we are not innocent we will accept what the judge and the Premier League decides.
“But if the same situation with Uefa happens and we are innocent, what happens to restore or pay back our damage?”
What have City been charged with?
In a statement the Premier League said City breached rules requiring them to provide “accurate financial information that gives a true and fair view of the club’s financial position”.
This information covered club revenue, which includes sponsorship income and operating costs.
Further alleged breaches relate to rules requiring full details of manager remuneration – from the 2009-10 to 2012-13 seasons, when Roberto Mancini was in charge – and player remuneration between 2010-11 and 2015-16.
The Premier League said City breached rules related to Uefa regulations, including FFP, from 2013-14 to 2017-18, as well as Premier League rules on profitability and sustainability from 2015-16 to 2017-18.
In 2020 European football governing body Uefa ruled that City committed “serious breaches” of FFP regulations between 2012 and 2016.
However, a two-year ban from European competitions was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) later that year.
Uefa began its investigation into City after German newspaper Der Spiegel published leaked documents in November 2018 alleging the club had inflated the value of a sponsorship deal.
The proceedings of the commission – chaired by Murray Rosen KC – will be confidential and heard in private.
When the Premier League investigation began, City said the allegations were “entirely false” and that allegations in Der Spiegel came from “illegal hacking and out of context publication of City emails”.