October 2, 2023

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has insisted he believes the club will once again prove their innocence in the wake of the financial charges against them.

City have been accused of breaching the Premier League’s financial rules over 100 times across the past 15 years, and the evidence has been submitted to an independent panel to rule on whether City are guilty or not.

It’s similar to their charge from UEFA in 2020, in which City were banned from the Champions League for two years before CAS intervened to overturn the ban.

Ahead of City’s meeting with Aston Villa on Sunday, Guardiola insisted his side have already been branded guilty but voiced his confidence that City will once again prove their innocence.

“My first thought is we have already been condemned,” Guardiola said.

“What happened is the same as what happened with UEFA, when we had accusations. The club proved we were completely innocent, why should we think now, when there are just charges? You know what side I am on.

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“We are lucky we live in a country where everyone is innocent until proven guilty. It seems like we have already been sentenced. What is going to happen, I don’t know.

“We think we have good lawyers and  we are going to defend our position. Time will depend what happens. We will see what a judge, the Premier League decides. In the same way with UEFA, we are innocent.

“The club, they talk to all of us. But we have trained like normal to get ready for Aston Villa. The last seven years have been for us, our fans and our people. The court will dictate what happens. I am fully convinced that we will be innocent.

“In this country, everyone is innocent until proven guilty. UEFA’s sentence wasn’t even that. It is now down to the lawyers of both sides to defend one side and the other one. It will be longer than one month, two months, and three months. We know what happened with UEFA and we will see that.”

Guardiola even joked that he is prepared for City to be relegated as a punishment, adding: “We will be back. We will get Paul Dickov and Mike Summerbee and be back.”

The City boss went on to warn the teams who have criticised his side that they have set a precedent for accusations by coming for the Citizens without any evidence.

“They open a precedent right now,” he explained.

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“Be careful in the future because many clubs make suggestions and we have been accused. I can have an opinion, but what do fans think? I don’t know.

“It is obvious the fans want to push us out of the competition. They believe we didn’t behave properly.

“Of course other clubs have driven these charges. It’s the Premier League. You should go to the chairman, the CEO’s, Daniel Levy, and ask them why.

“Against 19 teams we are alone, that’s for sure. We have to beat Aston Villa, like always we have done it. Nineteen clubs are not going to help us. We won the Premier League last season on the pitch. Let us defend the charges. If it happens, we will accept it. But like UEFA, we will defend.”

Finally, Guardiola referred to previous comments he made on City’s sanctions from UEFA, vowing that he would leave the club if he found out they had lied to him, something he insisted has not happened.

“I am not moving from this seat, I can assure you,” he said.

“I want to stay more than ever. After many, many years in the Premier League I do not want to move on.

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