By JAMES ROBSON
AP Soccer Writer
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — As Manchester City’s lawyers prepare for another battle to clear the club’s name, manager Pep Guardiola said Friday the Premier League champions have already been condemned.
City was accused on Monday of breaching a slew of financial regulations over a nine-year period. If found guilty, the club could face a fine, deduction of points or, in the most extreme case, expulsion from English soccer’s top division.
“My first thought is we are already being condemned,” Guardiola said. “We are lucky we live in a marvellous country where everyone is innocent until proved guilty. We didn’t have this opportunity. We are already sentenced.”
City already had a two-year ban from European club competitions overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2020 after UEFA had ruled the club committed “serious breaches” of financial fair play regulations from 2012-16.
The latest accusations came after a four-year investigation and, if upheld, represent one of the biggest scandals in the history of the Premier League.
City has said it will prove its innocence, with Guardiola adamant he will remain as manager.
“I am not moving from this seat. I can assure you, more than ever I want to stay,” he said. “Sometimes I have doubts, seven years already is a long time. Now I don’t want to go. Not because people say they lied to you Pep. They didn’t lie to me.”
City is accused of about 80 breaches of financial rules and 30 more breaches relating to its alleged failure to cooperate with the investigation since December 2018.
James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson
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