Manchester City are embroiled in a secret legal battle with the Premier League over whether they have complied with Financial Fair Play rules, it has been reported.
The bombshell report from the New York Times reveals that City - who are set to win the Premier League for the third time in four seasons in the coming weeks - could even face a points deduction if they are found to have broken the rules.
The Premier League have not spoken out about their investigation into City's finances since confirming in 2019 that they were looking into it, after Der Spiegel said City had disguised direct investment from owner Sheikh Mansour as sponsorship income.
The story hit headlines around the world, and City were banned from the Champions League for two years as a result of a UEFA investigation, which was later overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Their €30m fine was also reduced to €10m (£9m).
One huge talking point at the time centred around many of City's alleged breaches being time-barred due to the five-year time period outlined in the UEFA regulations.
The New York Times, however, have revealed that the Premier League are not constrained by the same limits and therefore could punish City for FFP rule breaks going back further.
City have always insisted they have not broken any regulations and strongly hit out at Der Spiegel for 'out-of-context materials' published in an 'organised and clear attempt to damage the club's reputation'.
The NY Times have revealed that City are now spending millions more in Britain's civil courts, challenging the Premier League behind closed doors.
It has been reported that publication of materials related to the case have been kept confidential despite huge public interest in City's off-field financial dealings.
Currently, it is not clear what sanctions could be placed upon City if they are found to have broken FFP rules, but points deductions and fines are included in the Premier League's rulebook.