By Jaime Spencer
Former Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva has cheekily asked if he is now a Premier League champion after it was confirmed that Manchester City were being investigated for allegedly breaching financial rules.
City Tribune accused by the Premier League of more than 100 infringements dating back to the 2009/10 season, with the evidence now passed to an independent commission for a judgement.
The club itself reacted with surprise to this week’s events, refuted claims that it had not cooperated with or assisted the investigation and expressed confidence that there is “irrefutable evidence” to support the absence of financial wrongdoing on their part.
Pep Guardiola has also been placed in a potentially embarrassing position after previously saying he would step down as City boss if ever lied to about financial dealings.
Potential penalties for City include a points deduction and even a Premier League expulsion at the harsher end of the scale. There is an appeals process, but City will be unable to appeal to the Tribunal of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the same body that ultimately bailed them out after being suspended from the Champions League by UEFA in 2020.
Where Lucas comes in is that he was part of the Liverpool squad that finished second to Manuel Pellegrini’s City in 2013/14, two points adrift of the champions.
There has been speculation that City could end up stripped of their previous titles, as was the case when Juventus became involved in Italy Calciopoli match-fixing scandal in 2006.
“Am I a Premier League champion?” Lucas tweeted after the City news broke.
When a media outlet later shared his comment with the caption, “Lucas Leiva wants his Premier League title for Liverpool in 2014,” the Brazilian replied.
“No I do not know. I just asked because I’m confused,” she said.
Despite the fervent hype on social media surrounding the possibility of the titles being stripped it is seen as unlikely, with reports suggesting penalties would not be ‘found’, although it remains an unprecedented situation in the Premier League.
Although the titles during the specific period in question, 2009 to 2018, during which City were crowned Premier League champions three times, could end up with no winners and not simply awarded to the runners-up. This has been the case in Italy once, but not twice, with one of Juve’s stripped titles remaining unallocated but another handed to Inter instead.
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This article was originally posted on 90min.com as Lucas Leiva asks if he is now a Premier League champion.