LONDON - Manchester City have been charged by the Premier League with over 100 breaches of their financial rules.

It follows a four-year investigation into the finances of the current Premier League champions.

In an unprecedented series of allegations, the Premier League said the breaches referred to a requirement to provide “accurate financial information that gives a true and fair view of the club’s financial position” in particular its “revenue”, “sponsorship revenue” and “operating costs”.

Manchester City announced their “surprise” at the Premier League’s statement and denied the charges. The club insisted there is “irrefutable evidence” to prove their innocence.

The Premier League said the breaches took place over a nine-season period, from 2009 to 2018. Manchester City won the Premier League three times during that time, as well as several other major domestic tournaments.

City have been referred to an independent commission, who will determine whether the club have broken Premier League rules. If the club are found guilty, punishment could range from a points deduction to a possible exclusion from the Premier League.

The club’s response read: “Manchester City FC is surprised by the issuing of these alleged breaches of the Premier League Rules, particularly given the extensive engagement and vast amount of detailed materials that the EPL has been provided with.

“The club welcomes the review of this matter by an independent commission, to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence that exists in support of its position. As such we look forward to this matter being put to rest once and for all.”

The Premier League opened their investigation following the publication of a report by German newspaper Der Spiegel that alleged the club had overstated its sponsorship income.

The report claimed that Manchester City had inflated its income through their Abu Dhabi owners and had effectively doubled the contract of former manager Roberto Mancini, which was kept off the books.

Mancini was in charge of City from 2009 to 2013 and the Premier League’s statement referred to alleged breaking of rules "requiring a member club to include full details of manager remuneration in its relevant contracts with its manager" during that time.

The Premier League listed more than 100 breaches of its rules during the nine-season period, including the requirement to comply with financial fair play rules. Manchester City are also alleged to have failed to cooperate with the Premier League over its investigation, which began in December 2018.

In February 2020, City overturned a two-year Champions League ban for a serious breach of Uefa’s financial rules at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.