BC-SOC--Man City-Guardiola,1st Ld-Writethru
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Pep Guardiola has spoken to Manchester City’s executives and retains his “trust” in the club amid UEFA’s investigation into financial misconduct that could result in the English Premier League winners getting banned from the Champions League.
“I know exactly what happened, I know exactly what they did,” Guardiola said on Friday, “and I trust them a lot.”
City is suspected of breaking rules that monitor commercial income and spending on player transfers and wages, with leaked documents implying that club officials deceived UEFA for several years — in particular by disguising revenue from commercial deals secured by the club’s owners.
UEFA’s club finance investigators have sent the file on City to the governing body’s judges.
The Associated Press reported this week that club officials have not fully cooperated with UEFA investigators.
“Man City is open to exposing all the papers, all the documents, all they have done,” Guardiola said. “So after that, I am not a lawyer, I don’t know what happens behind the scenes and the meetings they have with the lawyers from both sides.”
The issue dominated the news conference that Guardiola held a day before City plays Watford in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium. City’s players will complete a domestic treble — unprecedented in England in the men’s game — if they add the FA Cup to the Premier League and League Cup already captured this season.
“I know we won the Premier League, and the last two or three days people just talk about that (the UEFA investigation),” Guardiola said. “We are innocent until proven (guilty), I’m sorry. I said many times, if we did something wrong and UEFA decide we did something wrong, OK, we will be banned, we will be punished, or whatever they decide.
“But we are innocent right now. I know the people are waiting for (City) to be guilty.”
City has also come under scrutiny this week following the release of a video, thought to have been captured on an aircraft after City’s 4-1 win at Brighton that clinched the Premier League, which appears to show some players and staff joining in a song about title rival Liverpool.
The song incudes references to fans being “battered in the streets” and includes a line on Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah getting injured.
“It was not what people say,” said Guardiola, who added: “If someone was offended for another issue, I am sorry, I apologize. It was never was our intention. We celebrate for ourselves, we were happy to win the Premier League, against one incredible, incredible contender.”
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