Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has called for more than 100 Premier League charges levelled against the club for alleged financial irregularities to be resolved immediately.
City were referred to an independent commission in February over alleged rule breaches between 2009 and 2018, with the Premier League also accusing City of not co-operating since the investigation started in December 2018.
The sheer scale of the charges, which the club strongly deny, and the magnitude of the implications if found guilty suggest it is a case which will drag on for months, possibly years.
However, Guardiola does not want a cloud hanging over his side’s remarkable achievements and wants a resolution as soon as possible.
But the Catalan, who has a contract until 2025, stressed he would not walk away from the club while potential sanctions remain.
“I will stay next season while there are 110 breaches against us,” said Guardiola, who when asked whether he could extend three or four years beyond that added: “No, no, no. These two are enough.
“What I would like is if the Premier League and judges could make something as soon as possible, then if we have done something wrong everybody will know it.
“And if, we are like we believe as a club for many years, in the right way then the people will stop talking about that.
“We would love it tomorrow, this afternoon better than tomorrow.
“Hopefully they are not so busy and the judges can see both sides and decide what is the best because in the end I know fairly what we won we won on the pitch and we don’t have any doubts.
“We accept it is there. If it happened it happened. (But) let’s go, 24 hours sit down and lawyers present. Don’t wait two years. Why don’t we do it quicker?
“Let’s have it as soon as possible for the benefit of everyone. We want to defend our principles and if people doubt, OK, let’s go, let’s do it as soon as possible please.”
The alleged breaches concern the reporting of accurate financial information, the submission of details of manager and player pay information within the relevant contracts, a club’s responsibility as a Premier League member to adhere to UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations and to the league’s own profitability and sustainability regulations.
The club are also alleged to have breached rules requiring them to co-operate and assist with the Premier League’s investigation into those breaches, which the league says began in December 2018.
City have just won a fifth title in six seasons, and have won it seven times since 2011, and are chasing a treble with FA Cup and Champions League finals to come, but while the charges still loom large over the club Guardiola is not close to losing his hunger to win more domestic titles.
“Introduce me to a manager who doesn’t want to win. I’m scared to lose, I don’t want to be criticised, I want respect from my players,” he added.
“What we say, what we do, is to win. I accept my defeats because I always accept that the opponents can be better and beat us.
“So when people say we failed or lost it is like the others are s***. But the others can be good and beat us. It’s like ignoring the other ones.
“When people say now that next season just Manchester City can win the Premier league they are stupid comments.
“Next season will be tough because all clubs want to beat us. That is the challenge. Next season we defend our crown, it belongs to us for one year and we will work for it.
“If they (rivals) want it they have to do it better than us. But if it happens, we will congratulate them.
“United can beat us (in the FA Cup). Inter can beat us. They have three Champions Leagues, we don’t have any, but we have to do our best to try to avoid it.”