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Man City stripped of titles? Premier League punishment might not be enough for Liverpool

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Our writers looks at the 115 charges levied at Manchester City and the potential ramifications for the Reds after Everton’s 10-point deduction

‘If guilty, double digit deductions just won’t cut it’

Paul Gorst: Everton’s 10-point deduction for breaching Profit and Sustainability Rules represents the biggest of its kind in the Premier League era and the governing body have set their stall out considerably for what might follow.

Some have said the League have decided to make an example out of Everton to fend off claims they need to be independently regulated and have done so at a time when the 10-point deficit is not necessarily the immediate death knell for Sean Dyche’s survival plans.

And while there is some merit in that, this is also about an organisation who are trying to belatedly get tough on those who breach their financial rules.

But if Everton warrant 10 points for their breaking of the rules, the major question is how many will be shaved off City if they are found to eventually be guilty of many if not all of their alleged 115 breaches?

While Everton have been working with the Premier League to bring about a resolution – one that still sees them in with a real shot of actually staying up this season – City’s case has been characterised by strong, robust denials and obfuscation at almost every turn. There is a reason these charges have been dragging on around five years, after all.

If Everton are to be the yardstick for punishment of this sort, is relegation a real threat to City? Would even that be deemed appropriate enough? Given they would likely bounce back at the first time of asking with few real problems, it’s a major issue with no real ‘right answer’ here for the Premier League. The EFL, by the way, are not duty-bound to accept City into their pyramid.

Would it be too incendiary to suggest a demotion to the very bottom of the English professional football setup? Such a punishment would be unprecedented, groundbreaking and truly jaw-dropping. But so too are the charges City are being accused of.

It’s a difficult balancing act for the Premier League but one that cannot simply be justly resolved with a double-figure points deduction or financial penalty. Thirty points is the biggest deduction ever handed out in English football, to Luton Town in 2008, but even equaling that would simply mean an absence of Champions League football for one season at the Etihad.

We’re entering uncharted territory for the English game and if the Everton sanction is evidence of the Premier League trying to get strong, it is what they do about City – if they are found to be guilty – that will really prove their stomach for the fight.

‘Throw the book at them and hit them where it hurts’

Theo Squires: If Man City are found guilty of breaching the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability Rules, then they have to be made an example of. By still insisting they have done nothing wrong, you have to throw the book at them if that is not the case.

Everton’s 10-point penalty might seem a little harsh, for one charge from one season, and you expect it could get reduced on appeal. But that’s nothing compared to the 115 charges City are facing between 2009 and 2018.

Relegated sides in recent years could be entitled to compensation for the Blues’ retaining their Premier League status as their expense. But what about all the sides who have missed out on Premier League titles, domestic cups, and Champions League qualification? And City’s tainted success during this period has set them on their way to reach even greater heights.

I would be surprised if historic titles were to be reassigned, while a scenario which sees them relegated would be extraordinary in these unprecedented times. But there will be a plethora of clubs, including Liverpool, who will feel they would have every right to demand hefty compensation.

And while it seems futile to re-write history, Man City will surely have their future hindered by any punishment that comes their way.

With owners so wealthy, a simple fine doesn’t cut. It needs to be sporting sanctions and they need to be hit where it hurts. Ban them from taking one of the Premier League’s Champions League places, hand them a record points deduction, and issue them with a transfer ban.

After all, the status of being crowned champions of England, champions of Europe, and obliterating everyone else in the transfer market is what they have craved most.

It won’t make up for Liverpool missing out on the 2013/14 Premier League title, for example, but you can’t re-write the past. If you can’t take titles off them, you can at least punish them by making it that much harder for City to add to their haul after creating this unfair playground in the first place.

‘Stripped of titles? It’ll never make up for it’

Joe Rimmer: Whatever punishment is handed down to Man City (if found guilty), it’ll never be enough for Liverpool.

Let’s face facts here, football is a sport of emotions and even stripping Man City of titles – and I don’t think the Premier League would ever go that far – would not make up for, say, 2014’s near miss or the years that followed.

And let’s be clear, Man City might not be facing scrutiny for post 2018 but the years of success beforehand set them up for Pep Guardiola’s glittering reign – and the heartbreak of finishing a point behind them twice in some of the best seasons Liverpool have played out in top flight football.

Besides, even if they are hit with a points deduction, how will that work? If it’s 10 for Everton and one charge, how many for City and 115? It feels like in trying to show how serious they are, the Premier League have set themselves up for failure.

They have no choice to hit Man City hard, but nothing will make up for what might have been for Liverpool.

 

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