Manchester City face the possibility of a points deduction to go with their Champions League ban.
On Friday night, the club and fans were reeling from UEFA’s decision to ban the club for two years from European football, with the governing body finding the Premier League side to have committed serious breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations. They have also been hit with a €30million (£24.9m) fine.
The Premier League announced their own investigation in March and have been waiting for the outcome of UEFA’s case.
On Friday night, The Times reported Premier League officials would only confirm their investigation was ongoing but sources close to the newspaper have suggested a points deduction is a now a realistic possibility, not least because of the precedent set by the English Football League with breaches of financial rules in the Championship.
What are the financial fair play rules?
Clubs can only lose €30 million (£24.9 million) over three seasons otherwise they will be in breach of FFP rules and liable to a fine or suspension. UEFA also investigates if a club’s owner injects money into a club through a sponsorship deal, in order to ensure it is a fair market price.
What do UEFA believe Manchester City have done?
They have found that the club overstated their sponsorship revenue in accounts submitted between 2012 and 2016. Leaked emails, which came to light in 2018 through Football Leaks, suggested their Abu Dhabi owners — who bought the club for £210 million in 2008 — had paid the club directly rather than the sponsor Etihad and that other sponsorship deals with companies also related to the owners were secretly backdated.
The Premier League has similar but more flexible financial fair play rules, but if it concludes it has been given misleading financial information on purpose then sanctions, which include a points deduction, would almost certainly follow.
Man City insist they are ‘disappointed but not surprised’ by UEFA’s announcement and plan to launch an appeal against the punishment at the Court of Arbitration for Sport ‘at the earliest opportunity.’
The club are allowed to continue playing in this season’s Champions League where they face Real Madrid in the last 16.
FULL UEFA STATEMENT ON MAN CITY BAN
“UEFA takes note of the decision of the independent Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB), issued today, which included the following summary of its content and effect to be announced as required by the Procedural Rules governing the CFCB:
Following a hearing held on 22 January 2020 the Adjudicatory Chamber of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB), chaired by José da Cunha Rodrigues, has today notified Manchester City Football Club of the final decision on the case which was referred by the CFCB Chief Investigator.
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 € 30 million.
The decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber is subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). If Manchester City Football Club exercises that right the full reasoned decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber will not be published prior to publication of the final award by the CAS.’
As noted by the Adjudicatory Chamber, the club has the right to appeal this decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Therefore, UEFA will not be commenting further on this decision at this stage.”
As of now, Sheffield United are in line to take City’s place in the competition next season as they are fifth in the Premier League. On Drivetime, talkSPORT host Adrian Durham pointed out UEFA will have to be consistent when applying the ruling in future.
“In essence, what UEFA are doing, they are saying ‘there’s a lot of top players we don’t want in the Champions League’. I think it’s an extraordinary decision from them,” he said.
Sitting alongside him, Jamie O’Hara believes if the ban is upheld it will mean Guardiola leaves.
However, rival fans have revelled in the news and one Man United supporter was cheeky enough to suggest, with the possibility of a points deduction looming, that the 2017/18 title, which City won with 100 points be given to Jose Mourinho, who was in charge at the time.
United finished runners-up on 81 points and it’s an achievement the Spurs boss is proud of.
“If I tell you, for example, that I consider one of the best jobs of my career was to finish second with Man United in the Premier League, you will say, ‘this guy is crazy,’” as he suggested work ‘behind the scenes’ at the club made life difficult.