Manchester City’s already been cast as the villain but will the club ever get clear air?

Coverage of Manchester City’s legal battle with the Premier League has dominated the headlines in recent days. Since Matt Lawton’s report for the Times of City launching a legal challenge against the Premier League’s APT’s rules it has spawned a plethora of opinion pieces on the matter. Manchester City are reportedly the villain of the piece. That doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.

Here is a small selection of articles and the associated headlines since Manchester City’s legal battle with the Premier League became common knowledge.

That is just four articles that have come out since Manchester City’s legal battle with the Premier League became public knowledge. As the headlines and articles point out Manchester City is reportedly the biggest danger to English football in recent memory. According to some the club has been since Sheikh Mansour brought the club in 2008. It’s an interesting time in English football with Manchester City undoubtedly being cast as the evil entity that must be stopped. They reportedly threaten the very fabric of the game according to some. But is that the state of affairs? That is debatable and does appear to be a hysterical reaction to what is set to play out in the next two weeks.

Will Manchester City ever get the right to defend the club or will the mud stick?

Manchester City’s role as the villain of the piece is well-established. It can be seen or heard throughout sections of the media, on talk-back segments, YouTube shows and throughout social media. 115, cheats and other terms regularly accompany news stories about anything Manchester City. They have now become the biggest threat to English football or words to that effect this week. It is a fair list of terms to be thrown at the club. It will likely grow in the coming weeks and months.

Manchester City have two high-profile legal cases with the Premier League on the horizon. The arbitration hearing against the Premier League and the current APT regulations begins on Monday. November is reportedly the date set for the hearing of the 115 charges laid at Manchester City’s feet by the Premier League. Given the size and scope of both cases, they are massive news stories. But in the coverage of both, it does appear at times that the world champions’ guilt has been predetermined and the clubs name already tarnished.

It is rarely covered that there is a possibility that Manchester City could clear the club’s name. For whatever reason that possibility doesn’t seem to have been contemplated in some circles. Nor does it seem feasible that the Premier League’s APT rules could be considered unlawful. Outside of Manchester City fans those two possibilities are barely raised. Those are two distinct and very real possibilities. There is a reason Manchester City have welcomed an independent body viewing their ‘irrefutable evidence’ in the 115 case. The media coverage this week surrounding the club points at why.

Football needs to move on and fix the real issues not pick a villain to deflect attention.

There does appear to be hope on the horizon. The hope is that at the end of the year, both of the legal cases Manchester City is involved in are resolved. The game as a whole and Manchester City need it. Other issues need fixing in football besides Manchester City’s ongoing legal battles.

Painting Manchester City as the villain won’t solve the financial settlement deal between the Premier League and the EFL. That is a big issue in the game that has now seemingly been attached to Manchester City. As Mike Keegan reported for the Daily Mail in March 10 clubs voted against the package. Not one of the 10 named was Manchester City. Keegan’s detailed article highlights what the current impediments to that deal are. It does warrant reading given the current climate. City aren’t the villain in that picture. Perhaps greed and conflicting interests are.

If Manchester City have to face a trial by sections of the media and the public before their case in November perhaps it is obvious that an independent regulator is needed in football. There are to many conflicting interests at play currently. That has become obvious this week. An independent regulator may change the landscape and potentially be the impartial party football needs. That’s a question and a answer for another day.

It must be said Manchester City will have their 115 hearing in November. If the club is found guilty then the mud will stick. But if City are cleared they deserve and the game does to move on from this entire sordid affair. But will that happen? That’s a different question to ponder. But this week does paint a picture of what may lie ahead regardless of the outcome of Manchester City’s two legal battles with the Premier League.

Tags 115 charges Daily Mail English Premier League Manchester City Matt Lawton Matthew Syed Oliver Holy Sam Wallace Sheikh Mansour the Times

1 Comment

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  1. It has been a witch hunt since 2008, each new rule designed specifically to stop City.
    You are right to point out that 10 clubs voted against the EFL package, with City not in that group of 10, but is it mentioned, of course not, it does not fit the narrative. In your last paragraph you have the same thoughts as me. It does not matter whether City are exonerated when the finding are published, because the propaganda has been so great against the club, that City are guilty whatever the outcome.

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