Football’s trial of the century has been pencilled in for late next year.
Mail Sport understands that the Premier League and Manchester City have agreed a date at which they will face off in front of an independent panel in arguably the biggest hearing in the competition’s history.
The top-flight charged its champions with 115 alleged breaches of financial regulations in February after opening an investigation in 2018.
Throughout a long-running saga the competition and the club have remained tight-lipped – and both declined to comment when contacted.
However, it can be revealed that a date for the showdown has been initially scheduled for the late autumn of 2024
Those with knowledge of the situation believe that a conclusion may not follow until the end of next season – which is when City boss Pep Guardiola’s current contract is due to expire.
It is understood that what has been a highly confidential process is currently at the stage where statements are being taken from witnesses – which is likely to remain the case until next spring.
Should the trial go ahead on time, a verdict would be likely around the summer of 2025.
Delays, however, may well push the proceedings back further. And should either party find the eventual outcome unpalatable it would be difficult to imagine a world in which they would not appeal. Such a scenario would add significant time.
Should they need to, City may well explore further avenues, although they would not be able to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, where they successfully had their UEFA-delivered Champions League ban overturned.
City are accused of breaching 115 regulations over 14 seasons from 2009-10 onwards.
The charges include claims over financial reporting and a lack of co-operation with a Premier League investigation which was opened in 2018. City deny any wrongdoing.