Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said he has no intention of leaving the English champions after the club were charged with more than 100 breaches of financial rules by the Premier League.
City could face points deductions or even relegation from the English top flight if they are found guilty of the alleged breaches, between 2009/10 and 2017/18, by an independent commission.
Guardiola has previously said he would walk away if he found he had been lied to by the City hierarchy over allegations that they broke financial fair play (FFP) rules.
However, the City boss, who has won four Premier League titles in the past five years, said he believed the latest case would end in the same manner as a previous UEFA charge.
City were banned for two years from UEFA competitions in February 2020 by European football’s governing body for “serious financial fair play breaches”, but the sanction was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport later that year.
“My first thought is that we have already been condemned,” Guardiola said at his pre-match press conference on Friday, ahead of Sunday’s clash with Aston Villa.
“In case we are not innocent, we will accept what the judge or the Premier League decide. But what happens if in the same situation that (the) UEFA (case) happened, we are innocent? What happens to restore or pay back our damage?”
Guardiola recently extended his contract at the Etihad until 2025. His seven-year stay in Manchester is already the longest of his managerial career.
“I’m not moving from this seat. I can assure you more than ever I want to stay,” he said. “Sometimes I have doubts because seven or eight years is a long time but now I don’t want to move on.
“People say ‘they lied to you’. They didn’t lie to me. Look what happened at UEFA.
“Now it is the same case. Why should I not trust my people and trust the other CEOs of the other clubs?”
Guardiola believes the self-interest of City’s Premier League rivals is behind the charges.
“They open a precedent now, with what they have done to us,” he said. “Be careful in the future because many clubs can make suggestions and a lot of clubs can be accused, like we are accused, without being innocent.
“When they push to get rid of us, it is obvious they believe we didn’t behave properly. We can accept that, but let us defend (ourselves).”
City have not been their usual force on the pitch in recent weeks, with three defeats in their past six matches, and they trail Arsenal by five points at the top of the Premier League.
But he does not believe the off-field drama will distract his players ahead of a crucial period.
City face Arsenal on Wednesday before a return to Champions League action the following week against RB Leipzig.
“It hurts when they want to take out what we won on the pitch,” said Guardiola.
“When it happened on Monday, (there was) a lot of rumours, noise. I had a feeling when the games are coming back everyone is going to do the job they have to do. The players on the pitch and the lawyers in the court.”
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