Carlos Tevez returned to Manchester City today demanding an apology and retraction from Roberto Mancini as he continues to fight the manager’s allegation that he refused to play as a substitute against Bayern Munich last month.
Following the club’s two-week internal investigation into the alleged incident, undertaken while Tevez was suspended on full pay, Manchester City issued a statement claiming that they had “concluded that there is a case for Carlos Tevez to answer of alleged breaches of contract”.
Tevez will face a disciplinary hearing early next week, although with the possibility of appeals to the club board and the Premier League, a definitive resolution could yet be delayed until mid-December.
But with Mancini declaring after the 2-0 defeat against Bayern that Tevez was “finished” at City and would “never” play for the club again, the two men will come face-to-face for the first time this morning since returning from Munich with relations between the pair seemingly broken beyond repair.
Mancini has been told that his decision on Tevez’s training arrangements will be final and it is expected that the Argentine will be asked to train with the reserves.
Tevez, who met with City officials in London yesterday following his return from Buenos Aires, is insistent that Mancini should apologise for claiming that he refused to play in the Allianz Arena.
In return, the former Manchester United striker would issue his own apology for an initial refusal to warm-up during the match, although he remains adamant that at no time did he refuse to play. Tevez is understood to be prepared to accept that he was wrong to not warm-up when first told to do so early in the second half of the Champions League match, although he claims he did then try to prepare to play but was told to sit back down.
The 27 year-old will apologise, but only if Mancini withdraws comments made after the match which have upset and angered Tevez and damaged his reputation.
However, neither Mancini nor City are prepared to do this and the case is now going forward with the club confident they can prove he breached his contract. Negotiations between both sides took place all day yesterday but no agreement was reached.
Tevez is determined to clear his name and is prepared to take the case to a Premier League disciplinary panel.
As part of the proceedings, there will be a discussion over whether Tevez will be fined. The player is unconcerned about this and simply wants his reputation restored.
The initial disciplinary panel is expected to be convened at the start of next week and will be chaired by a member of City’s executive leadership team, with senior figures such as Ian Cafferky, Jonathan Stemp and Graham Wallace all under consideration to chair the panel.
If Tevez wishes, he can be accompanied at the hearing by a representative from the Professional Footballers’ Association or club captain Vincent Kompany. There is also the possibility of legal representation on both sides.
It is clear, however, that Tevez and his advisers are determined to exhaust every possible avenue of appeal, but it is regarded as highly unlikely that the player will receive the ultimate punishment of his having his contract cancelled by City.
The club has consulted the PFA throughout the investigative process, which has resulted in players and coaching staff being interviewed, as well as video evidence being reviewed. During discussions with the PFA, both City and the players’ union were in agreement that a fine of two weeks’ wages would not be sufficient should Tevez be found guilty of refusing to play.
However, the PFA also made it clear that sacking the player would be too excessive and it is understood that the likeliest penalty to be imposed by City would be a fine of six weeks’ wages, totalling at least £1.4m, followed by Tevez’s sale in the January transfer window. Despite Tevez’s insistence that he did not refuse to play against Bayern, City believe they have amassed enough evidence to support their counter argument.
It is understood that none of the witnesses interviewed were prepared to support Tevez’s version of events, while a post-match interview given by the player to Sky Sports immediately after the game, in which he admitted that he chose not to play, is regarded as damning evidence.
With Tevez free to return to training at the club’s Carrington training ground today, there is also no official barrier to him being selected for first-team duty by Mancini.
He has no intention of restoring Tevez to his squad, however, and his stance has the full supportive of the club’s chairman, Khaldoon al Mubarak.
Meanwhile, the Argentine forward Sergio Agüero is likely to soften the blow of Tevez’s unavailability by returning to action in time for next Tuesday’s Champions League tie against Villarreal at the Etihad
Stadium after being sidelined for two weeks with a groin injury sustained at Blackburn.