Soccer

UEFA bans Manchester City from Champions League for two seasons

UEFA has suspended Manchester City from the Champions League for two seasons for breaching its “Financial Fair Play” rules.

The club was found to have cooked its books in a bid to appear to be within the spending limits.

Defending English Premier League champions Manchester City will not be allowed to compete in any European club competitions in the next two seasons (2020-21 and 2021-22), after it was found guilty of committing “serious breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations,” European football’s governing body UEFA announced on Friday.

However, the club immediately said it would appeal the verdict.

The club, owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, royal family member and also deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, had long been under close scrutiny as one of the biggest spenders in European football. 

The Adjudicatory Chamber of UEFA’s so-called Club Financial Control Body found that between 2012 and 2016, Manchester City had deceived auditory “by overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016.”

UEFA also complained the team “failed to cooperate in the investigation of this case.”

City also face a fine of €30 million ($32.5 million), although the lost revenue from Champions League games and TV royalties would likely dwarf that sum.

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In a statement released immediately after the ban was announced, City said they are disappointed but not surprised.

“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.”

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