Lucas Leiva asks if he is now a Premier League champion
Ex-Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva has cheekily asked if he is now a Premier League champion after confirmation that Manchester City have been investigated over alleged financial rule-breaking.
City stand accused by the Premier League of more than 100 breaches stretching back to the 2009/10 season, with the evidence now passed over to an independent commission for a ruling.
The club themselves have reacted with surprise to the events of this week, refuted claims that they failed to cooperate with or assist the investigation and expressed confidence that there is ‘irrefutable evidence’ in support of no financial wrongdoing on their part.
Pep Guardiola has also been put in a potentially awkward position after previously going on record with claims that he would quit as City boss if he was ever lied to about financial dealings.
Potential sanctions for City include a points deduction and even expulsion from the Premier League at the more severe end of the scale. There is an appeals process, but City will not be able to take an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the same body which eventually got them off the hook after being suspended from the Champions League by UEFA in 2020.
Where Lucas comes into it is he was part of the Liverpool squad that finished second behind Manuel Pellegrini’s City in 2013/14, two points behind the champions.
There has been speculation that City could end up stripped of previous titles, as was the case when Juventus were embroiled in Italy’s calciopoli match-fixing scandal in 2006.
“Am I a Premier League champion?” Lucas tweeted after the City news came out.
When a media outlet then shared his comment with the caption, ‘Lucas Leiva wants his Premier League title for Liverpool in 2014’, the Brazilian responded.
“No I don’t. I just asked as I am confused,” he said.
Despite the fervent hype on social media surrounding the possibility of titles being stripped is considered unlikely, with reports suggesting that punishments would not ‘backward looking’, although it does remain an unprecedented situation in the Premier League.
Even if titles during the specific period in question, 2009 to 2018 during which time City were crowned Premier League champions three times, they could end up left with no winner and not just simply awarded to the runner-up. This was the case in Italy once but not twice – with one of Juve’s stripped titles remaining unawarded but another handed to Inter instead.
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