Defiant Pep Guardiola would stay at Manchester City even if relegated to League One

Coach comes out fighting when quizzed about club's alleged FFP breaches

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola during the UEFA Champions League match against Young Boys. AFP
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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola insists he would stay at the club even if they were relegated to League One, the third tier of English football, should they be found guilty of breaking Premier League financial rules.

City’s fate has been brought back into focus following Everton’s 10-point deduction last week, but Guardiola insists the two cases are completely separate.

The Toffees were docked 10 points for breaching rules over a three-year period, while City are awaiting a ruling after being charged in February with more than 100 alleged breaches of the competition’s financial fair play regulations between 2009 and 2018. The club denies all the charges.

Asked whether there could be any severity of punishment which would make him consider his position, Guardiola replied: “It’s a good question. I will answer when I have the sentence.

“You are questioning like we have been punished. And in the moment we are innocent until guilt is proven. I know the people want it. I know, I feel it. I will wait.

“Wait and see it and after the sentence has been done we will come here and explain it. But absolutely I will not consider my future (if) it depends (on) being here or being in League One. Absolutely.

“There is more chance to stay if we are in League One than if we were in the Champions League.”

Guardiola claims people have already decided that City are guilty and are already clamouring for them to be relegated, especially after the severity of Everton’s punishment.

“I know when people are saying, ‘OK, City, why don’t they go to the Conference?’ Wait. Wait,” he said.

“And after what’s going to happen is going to happen.

“When you read [what is said] then we should be relegated, relegated, relegated, yeah, of course, but nobody knows exactly. All the people who say that didn’t read the statements, don’t know exactly what happened. Not even myself, I didn’t read all the breaches, I didn’t read our defence.

“But wait. What I said a month ago – OK, if we’ve done something wrong we’ll be punished. But wait – we can defend ourselves can’t we?

“What people accuse us of we do not agree with what they say, we are going to defend [ourselves] and after the resolution is done, I will be here, like a spokesman for my club.

“I want to say the case for Everton, and I don’t know what happened, but only I know from the lawyers and people at my club and the lawyers is that they are completely different cases. That’s why you cannot compare because every case is completely different.

“The other one is longer because it is more complicated because it’s 115 breaches. So wait. Then after with the lawyers from both sides present their cases in front of the judge and the verdict and after I will say in front of you and you can ask me the question.”

The topic overshadowed the build-up to one of the blockbusting Premier League fixtures as City welcome rivals Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime.

Guardiola hopes that Erling Haaland is fit after he withdrew from international duty with Norway with an injury, but there are several other injury concerns.

“He trained yesterday with some niggles, today we train and hope he can be part of it,” Guardiola said.

“We have a few problems like many clubs, we’ll see after our last training sessions, we’ll see.

“I will know at 6pm who we have available, it’s always plan A.”

Updated: November 24, 2023, 5:59 PM