Please be done with it: Pep wants speedy Fair Play probe into City finances

Sports | 6 Dec 2018

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola hopes a swift conclusion to Uefa's investigation over alleged Financial Fair Play irregularities committed by the English Premier League champions will silence the speculation surrounding the case.

Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin said after an Executive Committee meeting of European football's governing body that an independent panel looking into the allegations made by German magazine Der Spiegel as part of their Football Leaks campaign would provide answers "very soon".

Reports claimed City could even be banned from next season's Champions League should they be found guilty.

Guardiola insisted the story hasn't been a distraction to his players, as they moved five points clear at the top of the Premiership with a 2-1 win at Watford.

However, the Catalan coach is hoping for an end to what he described as "voices" surrounding the club's business.

"If Uefa found something the club will make a statement and I'd like to do that because we will know exactly and to finish with these voices," said Guardiola. "We will know if we did something irregular and if we didn't do something irregular, the people are going to finish talking about it."

City are accused of bypassing Uefa's FFP rules, designed to restrict the losses clubs can make and therefore lavish spending on player transfers and wages, by allowing their Abu Dhabi-based sponsors to make cash injections and backdate sponsorship contracts.

A member of the Abu Dhabi ruling family, Sheikh Mansour, has owned City since 2008, transforming the club by investing heavily in players and the club's facilities.

Goals from Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez put City in control against Watford, but they had to withstand a nervy finish after Abdoulaye Doucoure bundled home five minutes from time.

Elsewhere, Bournemouth moved above Manchester United in sixth place thanks to a 2-1 win over Huddersfield.

Brighton beat Crystal Palace 3-1 despite playing for over an hour with 10 men.

West Ham's upward trajectory continued as three goals in 12 second-half minutes beat Cardiff 3-1. Lucas Perez, on for the injured Marko Arnautovic, scored his first two league goals since a summer move from Arsenal.

Ralph Hasenhuttl has been handed the task of reviving Southampton's fortunes after being named their new manager. The 51-year-old Austrian replaces the sacked Mark Hughes on a 2 1/2-year contract. He led RB Leipzig to second in the Bundesliga in the 2016/17 season and the Europa League quarter-finals last term.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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