Manchester City have been banned from European action for the next two seasons by UEFA, European soccer’s governing body.
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UEFA delivered the verdict on Friday after an extensive investigation into what they call “serious breaches” of Financial Fair Play rules.
City were also fined $32.4 million for the breach as UEFA’s Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) found the reigning Premier League champions guilty of serious breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations.
The Manchester club were previously charged by UEFA in 2014 as they were fined and had a limited number of players in their squad for UEFA competitions for FFP breaches. This new charge comes after Football Leaks documents published by Der Spiegel in 2018 accused Man City of wrongdoing.
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Here is the statement in full from Man City as they plan to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS):
“Manchester City is disappointed but not surprised by today’s announcement by the UEFA Adjudicatory Chamber. The Club has always anticipated the ultimate need to seek out an independent body and process to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence in support of its position.
“In December 2018, the UEFA Chief Investigator publicly previewed the outcome and sanction he intended to be delivered to Manchester City, before any investigation had even begun. The subsequent flawed and consistently leaked UEFA process he oversaw has meant that there was little doubt in the result that he would deliver. The Club has formally complained to the UEFA Disciplinary body, a complaint which was validated by a CAS ruling. Simply put, this is a case initiated by UEFA, prosecuted by UEFA and judged by UEFA. With this prejudicial process now over, the Club will pursue an impartial judgment as quickly as possible and will therefore, in the first instance, commence proceedings with the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the earliest opportunity.”
If Man City’s appeal isn’t successful then it is possible that the team which finishes in fifth place in the Premier League this season will qualify for the Champions League next season.
For a club which has chased winning the UCL for so long under the ownership of their owner from Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mansour, this a huge blow for Pep Guardiola and his project. It may even mark the end for Guardiola at City and if they are banned from the Champions League for at least one season it will also impact the signings they could make.
It could also get worse for Man City as the Premier League is reportedly looking into a possible points deduction for the reigning champions.
City’s appeal to CAS or others would be a complicated one as they could argue that FFP is in breach of European laws but with the UK coming out of the EU in the coming months, that could complicate things further. What a mess.