The English Football League (EFL) would not be required to accept Manchester City in the extraordinary event that the club were expelled from the Premier League for alleged breaches of financial rules, Telegraph Sport has learned.
City have been accused of breaching 115 regulations spanning 14 seasons from 2009-10 to the current campaign following a four-year investigation by the Premier League.
An independent disciplinary commission will now hear the charges in private.
The Premier League champions said they welcomed the opportunity for the commission to “consider in an impartial manner the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence that exists in support of their position” and hoped the matter would “be set aside once and for all”. .
No timeline for a hearing has been announced but if the charges are proven, City could face a range of punishments, including point deductions, fines and the eventual penalty of expulsion from the league.
City successfully overturned a two-year ban from European competition by UEFA on appeal in 2020 for alleged financial improprieties and is confident his name will also be cleared for alleged Premier League offences.
But, in the extreme case of City supporters’ worst fears coming true and the club being kicked out of the Premier League, it is understood that the EFL would not have to automatically accept them, as they are under no obligation to do so.
Given that the EFL, which covers the Championship, League One and League Two, cannot have more than 72 clubs, it is also unclear how City would fit into such a scenario without a change in regulations.
Sending off and relegation are not the same thing: the Premier League’s independent disciplinary committee has the power to send off a club, but there is no provision in the rules for them to be relegated.
The sources suggested the situation points to “another gap in football governance” as the government is due to publish a long-awaited white paper shortly proposing reforms to shake up football.
Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan said on January 26 that the document, which is expected to propose the introduction of an independent soccer regulator in England, would be published in “two weeks” but has now been delayed for a fortnight.
Insiders at City feel the timing of the Premier League announcement outlining the charges was part of a ploy to show the organization is capable of self-restraint amid its resistance to the possible introduction of a regulator.