As per a report from the Mirror, Manchester City are of the belief that Arsenal have emerged as the ‘driving force’ behind the Premier League push to ensure that the Citizens’ exclusion from European competition next season remains in place.
City made an example of
The bombshell announcement regarding City’s punishment arrived last month.
First, a number of highly-reliable sources confirmed that the Premier League champions had been slapped with a 2-season Champions League ban, and hit with a £25 million fine.
This was swiftly followed by a statement on the part of Uefa, which read:
‘The Adjudicatory Chamber, having considered all the evidence, has found that Manchester City committed serious breaches of the Uefa Financial Fair Play Regulations by overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to Uefa between 2012 and 2016.’
‘The Adjudicatory Chamber has also found that in breach of the regulations the club failed to cooperate in the investigation of this case by the CFCB.’
The decision on the part of European football’s governing body came on the back of an in-depth investigation into Manchester City’s financial situation.
This investigation was reportedly sparked by Der Spiegel in November of 2018, after the German publication highlighted the fact that the Sky Blues had falsely inflated the club’s revenue gained through sponsorship, in a bid to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations.
Arsenal the ‘driving force’?
As such, the widespread assumption had since been that City would likely see their ban reduced from two years to one, but would nevertheless be forced to sit out next season’s Champions League.
This was, however, until the COVID-19 pandemic brought football around the globe to a standstill.
The Citizens have already launched an appeal against UEFA’s sanction to the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport).
However, as things stand, this process is still in its infancy.
As a result, there is a strong chance that a final decision on City’s appeal will not be reached before August.
This had resulted in speculation of late that the Premier League champions are altogether unlikely to be denied entry into next season’s Champions League group stages.
Such a scenario, though, would not sit at all well with City’s English top-flight rivals.
A report from the reliable Independent earlier this week revealed that as many as 8 of the current Premier League top-10 had made direct contact with the CAS, to ensure that Pep Guardiola’s men remain excluded from next season’s Champions League, if a ruling on their appeal cannot be reached in time.
Premier League backlash proves Man City’s enemies spread far wider than Uefa alone
— Indy Football (@IndyFootball) March 27, 2020
And, as per the aforementioned update from the Mirror, an insight into the one club whom City feel are most intently behind this push has been revealed.
The outfit in question are Arsenal.
It is claimed that ‘City bosses have information from a number of trusted sources that the move was instigated by the Gunners.’
Arsenal have, to this point, refused to comment on the outlined speculation.
However, it is added that, should City make contact with those in charge at the Emirates, they will be met with a firm denial.
It should also be noted that current Gunners boss Mikel Arteta only departed the Etihad for north London this past December.