Manchester City’s achievements will always “belong to us,” even if the club’s Premier League titles are stripped away, according to the club’s manager Pep Guardiola.
Between 2009 and 2018, the Premier League charged Man City with more than 100 violations of its financial rules. City won three Premier League titles during that time, two of which were under Spaniard Guardiola.
“Nobody can remove it, the feelings, the good moments, the bad moments,” he said.
Sergio Aguero’s memorable last-gasp winner on the final day against QPR earned City their first title in 2012, and they finished first again in 2014 after a late run edged Liverpool by two points.
The Reds were leading with three games remaining, but a slip by captain Steven Gerrard allowed Demba Ba to score as Chelsea defeated them 2-0 at Anfield. Liverpool then drew 3-3 at Crystal Palace after leading 3-0, while City won the rest of their games.
Pep Guardiola added, “Absolutely, they belong to us. Regardless of the sentence, they belong to us.
“The moment from Sergio Aguero, with (Mario) Balotelli slipping him in. I don’t know if we are responsible for Steven Gerrard slipping. In that situation at Anfield I didn’t want that, for respect for Steven Gerrard, but is it our fault?
“The Premier League will decide but I know what we won, and the way we won it, with the effort we put in. For something that happened in 2009 or 2010 – I don’t know how long ago it was – this is not going to change that one second.”
The Premier League has referred City to an independent commission, which has the authority to impose penalties ranging from a fine and points deduction to expulsion from the league.
The Premier League also accused City of failing to cooperate with the investigation since it began in December 2018. Man City, who were taken over by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008, said they were “surprised” by the charges and are supported by a “body of irrefutable evidence”.
On Friday, Guardiola claimed that the other 19 top-flight clubs were the driving force behind the Premier League’s charges.
Burnley, Wolves, Leicester, Newcastle, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, and Chelsea wrote to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) in 2020, requesting that City’s two-year European ban for violating Uefa’s Financial Fair Play regulations not be delayed during their appeal process.
Their request was denied, and Manchester City prevailed in their appeal to Cas.
Guardiola said jealousy is part of the sport and that “when a team is winning you want to beat them. But what these nine teams have done, I don’t forget it. They want the position in the Champions League for the big amount of money to pay for the stadiums they built.
“They can be suspicious, that is OK, but (they should) wait. We can go with our lawyers and say, ‘Listen, we have done this and this’, as happened with Uefa. Wait, they didn’t. Not even one second.”