The Guardian: LONDON, By Jamie Jackson – Pep Guardiola has urged the Premier League to speed up its handling of the case against Manchester City, after sowing confusion over whether he plans to stay at the club.
The manager, who called for a verdict “this afternoon” or “tomorrow”, insisted he would continue next season even if more than 100 charges were unresolved after raising doubt over his future when asked whether he could leave if the treble was won.
The charges relate to alleged financial wrongdoing and have been denied by City. They were brought in February and there is no timeframe for the case – although Guardiola referred on Tuesday to “two years”.
On Sunday City retained the Premier League title and they will win the treble if they defeat Manchester United in the FA Cup final and Internazionale in the Champions League final next month. Guardiola, who is contracted until summer 2025, was asked whether he might resign if the treble was claimed.
“Right now I am not thinking about leaving but who knows, but I am not thinking [about this],” he said. “I would like to continue here next season independent of the results. I would like it but I don’t know what it’s going to feel like – winning or losing the two chances [finals] we have ahead of us. My feeling is I have a contract and when I sign I want to respect the club.”
He then made clear he would remain if, as expected, the Premier League case has not been concluded. “I will stay next season while there are 110 breaches against us. Don’t worry, we will be there. What I would like is if the Premier League and the 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 [decision] tomorrow, this afternoon better than tomorrow. We would love it. 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 that what we won we won on the pitch. We don’t have any doubts.”
Guardiola denied any frustration at the case. “We accept it is there. If it happened it happened. It was the same with Uefa [a two-year ban from European competition which was overturned by the court of arbitration for sport] and now the Premier League. [But] let’s go: 24 hours [if possible] 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.
“But I know there are many cases around the world and maybe they are so busy. Hopefully they can do it as soon as possible. We want to defend our principles and if people doubt, OK, let’s go, let’s do it as soon as possible please.”
Last week City reportedly launched a legal fight against the charges, disputing the legality of the investigation and the involvement of the barrister in charge of the disciplinary process.
Guardiola was asked if he might stay for up to another four years. “No, no, no. These two (to come) are enough.”
Top Feature Photo: Pep Guardiola is under contract until 2025 – Lee Smith/Action Images/Reuters