Soccer-Man City innocent until proven guilty, says Guardiola

(Reuters) – Manchester City are innocent until proven guilty of over 100 charges of breaking the Premier League’s financial rules, manager Pep Guardiola said on Friday.

Everton were last week handed an unprecedented 10-point deduction for breaching profitability and sustainability rules (PSR).

Champions City lead the standings by one point from Liverpool, who they host on Saturday, and Arsenal.

“Why should I not believe (we are innocent)?” a prickly Guardiola told reporters on Friday. “It’s the lawyers to make the defence in front of the judge. We wait and after we accept the resolutions.”

Everton’s punishment prompted an outcry from supporters of teams around the league who want City to face a similar penalty.

“I’m not going to say one word about Everton because I don’t know the reality of what happened. They are two completely different cases,” Guardiola said.

“I know people are saying, ‘Why don’t City go to the Conference’ (the National League and lowest division on the English football pyramid). But let’s wait. It’s two different cases, it’s not the same. One of them is longer, it’s more complicated.”

Guardiola, who led City to their first Champions League title last season to become the second English side after Manchester United to win the treble, was asked if he would quit if they were demoted.

“You’re questioning me like we have been punished. At the moment, we’re innocent,” the Spaniard said. “There is more chance I will stay if we are in League One than if we win the Champions League.”

(Reporting by Lori Ewing, editing by Ed Osmond)