The thorny issue of football finance has returned to the fore again in the last week after Everton were deducted 10 points by the Premier League for a breach of Financial Fair Play rules. The controversial ruling, which Everton are contesting, came while charges still hang over Manchester City in a much more expansive case than the one involving the Goodison club.
Everton have been handed their punishment for overstepping the £105million loss threshold over a three-year period. City, meanwhile, are fighting charges of 115 alleged breaches over a 10-year period, and this week's events has seen speculation run riot again about City's case and what potential sanctions could be heading their way, if they were found guilty.
There's been talk of massive point deductions and even relegation, but the truth is that as an unprecedented case, no-one really knows what the outcome could be. City vehemently deny all the charges and intend to fight them all the way, and the sheer size and complexity of the case means a resolution in either direction could be some way into the future.
But these latest events do throw up a number of questions about what it might all mean for City going forward. Are the Financial Fair Play rules fair? How credible is the independent panel that will sit to rule on City's case? What happens at City if they are found guilty of any, some or all of the charges - or indeed if they are exonerated?
Here's what our MEN writers think of the situation ...
It's difficult to draw too many conclusions from the Everton verdict given their case is very different, but it's fair to say an unexpectedly strong punishment for the Merseyside club sets a benchmark for how strong the conviction is from the Premier League to clamp down on financial breaches. If there was any doubt, this confirmed that City will have the kitchen sink thrown at them if found guilty of the most serious charges.
And while it should be too obvious to need saying, just because Everton have had a strong punishment that by no means indicates that City will be. The Blues will be judged by experts on the basis of the evidence presented the incredibly strong allegations will need to be emphatically supported up against the 'irrefutable body of evidence' that the club say they have in their defence.
The reaction to and from Everton has been telling though, supporting Pep Guardiola's idea that City have already been 'condemned' in the public eye as people ignorantly wail about why City's case hasn't been heard yet and what punishments they must face despite the reality. Even if City are vindicated by the independent panel - and they are confident of that - their reputation will do well to recover in public in the same way that people to this day either refuse to accept the verdict from the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2020 or misinterpret it.
Whatever you think of FFP, UEFA or the Premier League, City have signed up to the rules and have said they will respect the decision of the independent panel. Obviously everybody wants the fairest result but it would be useful for the credibility of the panel if their ruling on Everton was not significantly overturned on appeal in order to reinforce their authority and make their decisions in future easier to accept.
The penalty handed down to Everton felt like a landmark day for the Premier League and their strong stance against financial rule breaches, but the arguably even more significant day to come is what happens on appeal. If the decision is upheld then it will really will send shockwaves through the league.
The comparisons between the two cases aren't really accurate, beyond the fact they are both being investigated by an independent commission. City's alleged rule breaches are far more complex and far more detailed than Everton's, who worked with the Premier League for much of the investigation to try and fall within the allowed parameters. It was only when they went against some Premier League advice that the charges arrived.
Those demanding an immediate punishment for City now Everton have been dealt with will have to wait, but this is a clear indication that we can expect the Premier League to want the book thrown at the club, especially if Everton's appeal fails. The Premier League are determined to make their financial rules work, but if City are cleared of all 115 charges the league's credibility will be in pieces.
City knew they were in a fight before the judgement handed down to Everton, albeit they remain convinced they have the evidence to prove their innocence, but the events of the past few days have shown there is plenty of mettle on the Premier League's side as well.
The simple fact of the matter is talk about City's charges have roared to the forefront without any new information, thus anything new to say, coming to light. Anger from Everton fans over their own club's misdeeds and subsequent punishment has led to screams of 'but what about City!' between blubbered breaths.
City is being investigated by an independent commission just as Everton were. There are 115 charges, it will take a very long time for a verdict to be reached. Upon that verdict, an appeal from either side could drag the whole ordeal out even longer. It isn't satisfying for those begging for blood but that's what it is.
Should - and that is a massive should, given City are confident they will beat the allegations - the Blues be found guilty then the pitchforks can come out and rightly so. Upon such an eventuality all the great feats City has accomplished will be tainted forever, even if nothing could take away the memories of them from supporters.
Until that day, everything is just noise.