UEFA hit club hard
European ban could cost Manchester City £170m
Future: Pep Guardiola (pic: SNS Group)
Manchester City are set to miss out on more than £170million after being banned by UEFA from European competition for two seasons for “serious breaches” of its Financial Fair Play rules.
In a move which has stunned the world of football, the English champions were also fined £25m (30 million Euros) for their transgressions.
Despite last season’s Champions’ League campaign reportedly earning City £86m, the club’s profit was just £10m, highlighting the potential costly nature of the suspension.
The ban, which City are to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, could also throw into doubt the future of boss Pep Guardiola and a host of his star players as they consider life without European involvement.
The former Barcelona manager, who has a break clause in his contract which could allow him to leave in the summer, has always stated he trusted the club’s owners when they told him they had done nothing wrong when the issue initially surfaced.
UEFA’s punishment stems from City being deemed guilty of reporting misleading sponsorship revenue in a bid to get round the Financial Fair Play regulations which require clubs to break even.
In a statement, UEFA said: “The Adjudicatory Chamber, having considered all the evidence, has found that Manchester City Football Club committed serious breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations by overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016.
“The Adjudicatory Chamber has also found that in breach of the regulations the club failed to cooperate in the investigation of this case by the CFCB.
“The Adjudicatory Chamber has imposed disciplinary measures on Manchester City Football Club directing that it shall be excluded from participation in UEFA club competitions in the next two seasons (ie. the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons) and pay a fine of €30m.
“The decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber is subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).”
City responded by saying: “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.”
UEFA launched its probe into City’s finances after German media claimed the club had falsely inflated sponsorship deals with businesses linked to its Abu Dhabi ownership.