Manchester City’s Premier League rivals reacted angrily on Friday to Pep Guardiola’s outspoken defence of the club’s alleged financial breaches, which many of them consider to be libellous.
Guardiola singled out Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy and name-checked eight other clubs he said are lobbying against City, which he claims has pushed the Premier League into issuing more than 100 charges of breaking spending rules.
Guardiola’s outburst came a day after City chief executive Ferran Soriano was seen shaking hands with executives at other clubs at a Premier League meeting in London, a disconnect that has gone down very badly among other members of the top flight.
Several club executives told Sportsmail they strongly deny pushing the Premier League to take action against City, pointing out that the issuing of charges earlier this week followed a four-year investigation in which they played no part.
Levy has received messages of support from other Premier League clubs after Guardiola’s criticism.
Teen ace in record Blues deal
Chelsea have awarded highly rated striker Jimmy-Jay Morgan their most lucrative first professional contract ever after poaching the 17-year-old from Southampton in a deal worth up to £6million last month.
The England youth international was criticised by Saints boss Nathan Jones for rejecting the club’s contract offer when he turned 17 in January, but Morgan regards the move to Stamford Bridge as a homecoming after previously being on Chelsea’s books.
Morgan only joined Southampton in the first place as his family were living on the south coast and commuting to London for training was proving too tiring. He was named on the bench for the Saints’ Premier League match against Brighton earlier this season.
Anger over United blackout
The Premier League are facing calls from clubs to allow greater flexibility over televising live matches in the next broadcast cycle from 2025 to 2028.
Manchester United’s 2-2 draw with Leeds on Wednesday was not shown live in this country despite just one FA Cup replay between Sunderland and Fulham taking place on the same evening, a source of frustration at both clubs.
The game was originally due to take place the day before Queen Elizabeth’s funeral in September, when it was not scheduled to be televised, before being postponed due to a lack of police resources.
There is no provision in the existing rules for broadcasters to buy extra games that are rearranged, a situation that many clubs regard as outdated and unsatisfactory, particularly given all the postponements caused by the Covid pandemic in recent years.
Beeb’s Wrexham gantry gaffe
Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp may have been better advised focusing his ire at the BBC rather than Wrexham’s players, whom he angrily accused of eyeing up an FA Cup fifth-round tie against Tottenham after the Championship side beat them in Tuesday’s fourth-round replay.
The BBC had more than half an eye on the prospect of Tottenham visiting National League Wrexham, as they chose to leave their makeshift TV studio in place at the Racecourse Ground following their 3-3 draw against the Blades in the initial tie last month. The pop-up TV gantry has yet to be removed two weeks after the game.
FA’s olive branch for Lianne
The FA have invited Lianne Sanderson to the Women’s Finalissima between England and Brazil at Wembley in April in a bid to rebuild bridges with the former Lionesses forward.
Sanderson, 35, was upset at being snubbed from a reunion of hundreds of former players at England’s friendly against the United States in October, as well as having her name spelt incorrectly in the matchday programme.
The FA apologised at the time and have invited Sanderson to be their guest at another high-profile fixture, the first competitive meeting between Europe and South America’s champions in a new initiative arranged by UEFA and CONMEBOL. Sanderson has yet to respond to the invite.