Manchester City have accepted an FA misconduct charge relating to the behaviour of the players in last weekend’s draw with Liverpool.
The club were charged with failing to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion following a controversial penalty decision in the second half of Sunday’s 1-1 Premier League draw at the Etihad Stadium.
City, who were given until Friday to respond, have now indicated they will plead guilty. The case will be heard by an independent regulatory commission in due course.
City’s players complained to referee Michael Oliver after the official adjudged Gael Clichy to have fouled Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino. They continued their protests after James Milner had struck from the spot to give Liverpool the lead in the 51st minute, delaying the restart of the game.
The incident was one of a number of talking points in an incident-packed encounter, with City feeling particularly aggrieved not to have been awarded a penalty themselves for a challenge on Raheem Sterling in the first half.
News that City have accepted the charge came on the same day it emerged the club failed to heed a written warning ahead sent three weeks before their critical third breach of FA anti-doping regulations last year.
City were charged with breaking the FA’s ‘whereabouts’ rules in January and a three-man panel gave the club a £35,000 fine in February.
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Under anti-doping regulation 14D, clubs must provide the FA with accurate information about training sessions and players’ addresses so doping control officers can find them for no-notice drugs tests. If clubs fail to provide this information – or testers are unable to find the players they are looking for – three times in a rolling 12-month period then they are deemed to have breached the rule.
The written reasons for City’s sanction have now been published. The club’s ‘three strikes’ were:
:: Failing to inform the FA of an extra first-team training session on July 12, 2016.
:: A first-team player missing a test on September 1 of last year because the hotel address provided was no longer correct.
:: Anti-doping officials being unable to test reserve players on December 7 because six of them had been given the day off without the FA being informed.
The final breach occurred despite the FA writing to City on November 14 to remind them clubs must notify the governing body if five or more players in a particular squad are given a day off from a scheduled session. They were also warned in writing after the second strike in September.
City told the FA the two training-session breaches were “administrative errors” related to the club’s new management team under Pep Guardiola being unfamiliar with the system.
The Premier League club said they believed they had grounds to challenge the hotel mix-up but the FA rejected this and City did not contest the point. That acceptance of guilt was welcomed by the panel and resulted in a smaller fine than it was “minded to impose having noted all the other applicable considerations”.
But the panel was critical of City’s failure to meet their obligations and heed warnings.
“It is no less concerning that in this case, despite the club being made aware of their breaches on two previous occasions (and) the resources available to the club, they failed to deal with these and implement a system to correct this,” it said.
City, Fleetwood and Bournemouth have all been charged with this offence this season, with the latter still waiting for their sanction.
City have decided not to comment on the FA sanction.