Manchester City will miss out on upwards of £170million after they were sensationally slapped with a two-year ban from the Champions League.

UEFA’s bombshell announcement on Friday night also saw the Premier League champions fined €30million (£25m) for breaching Financial Fair Play rules. 

City are accused of lying and falsely inflating their revenue from sponsorship deals  when submitting their accounts to UEFA.  

Manchester City have been banned from the Champions League for the next two seasons

Manchester City have been banned from the Champions League for the next two seasons 

City stars such as Raheem Sterling are set to miss out on playing in Europe's top competition

City stars such as Raheem Sterling are set to miss out on playing in Europe’s top competition

City say that they are 'disappointed but not surprised' with Friday's decision from UEFA

City say that they are ‘disappointed but not surprised’ with Friday’s decision from UEFA

MANCHESTER CITY STATEMENT 

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.’ 

City earned £86m from the Champions League last season and so two years without being able to take part will see the club miss out on more than £170m. 

Even with those figures, the club only made £10m in profit for the season and so the ban is highly damaging.  

The misleading sponsorship revenue figures are what European football’s governing body say are ‘serious breaches’ of their club licensing and Financial Fair Play regulations which they committed by ‘overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016’.

In a stunning move, UEFA also said City failed to co-operate with an investigation into the matter launched by its Club Financial Control Body. 

UEFA launched a probe after documents obtained by a hacker and published in German media suggested the club had falsely inflated sponsorship deals with firms with firms linked to their Abu Dhabi ownership in an alleged attempt to circumvent UEFA’s FFP rules. 

The UEFA statement added: ‘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 €30million.’ 

City have reacted furiously to the development and say they will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

A searing statement released by the club said: ‘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.

Sergio Aguero may not play for City in the Champions League again following this season

Sergio Aguero may not play for City in the Champions League again following this season

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE BAN Q&A 

What exactly did Manchester City do wrong?

European football’s governing body say City have made ‘serious breaches’ of their club licensing and Financial Fair Play regulations which they committed by ‘overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016’.

UEFA also said City failed to co-operate with an investigation into the matter launched by its Club Financial Control Body.

Uefa launched a probe after documents obtained by a hacker and published in German media suggested the club had falsely inflated sponsorship deals with firms with firms linked to their Abu Dhabi ownership in an alleged attempt to circumvent Uefa’s FFP rules.

Are they going to appeal?

City have reacted furiously to the development and say they will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

A searing statement released by the club said: ‘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.’

What happens with City in the Champions League this season?

Guardiola’s side will continue their Champions League campaign this season as normal.

The ban, which is being appealed, excludes City from Europe’s elite competition for the next two seasons (ie. the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons).

City face Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg of their Champions last-16 tie on February 26.

What are their chances of success with the appeal?

AC Milan were banned from European competitions for breaching FFP rules by UEFA in 2018 for two years just like City have been now.

The Serie A club took appealed to CAS and it was appealed which allowed Milan to enter the Europa League in the 2018-19 season.

But last summer Milan were referred to UEFA’s financial watchdog again and served a one-year ban from European football during the current campaign.

It will not be a surprise if something similar happens with City.

What does it mean for top four/five contenders?

One major question on the lips of many Premier League clubs is who will take City’s Champions League spot if the Citizens finish in the top-four.

While UEFA and the Premier League have not confirmed what will happen regarding England’s qualification spots, UEFA rule 4.08 says:

‘A club which is not admitted to the competition is replaced by the next best-placed club in the top domestic championship of the same association, provided the new club fulfils the admission criteria.one potential solution is that fifth place qualifying for European’s biggest club competition.’

This would mean Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United – who currently occupy that fifth position in the Premier League – are in pole position to qualify for the Champions League with just over a dozen matches remaining.

What does it mean for Pep’s future at the club?

Guardiola has a break clause in his contract which could see him leave City at the end of this season.

Sportsmail can reveal that the deal the Spaniard signed last year — which saw him extend his original contract until 2021 — included an agreement that he could depart at the conclusion of this campaign should certain stipulations that satisfy the club be met.

City officials are confident that, despite an underwhelming season to date which has seen City fall a hefty 22 points behind runaway leaders Liverpool, Guardiola will honour his deal.

By Jack Kinnersley 

There will be little sympathy for Manchester City following their Champions League ban

There will be little sympathy for Manchester City following their Champions League ban

City were found guilty by UEFA of having falsely inflated their sponsorship revenues

City were found guilty by UEFA of having falsely inflated their sponsorship revenues

UEFA STATEMENT 

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.

‘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.’

LaLiga president Javier Tebas was quick to air his thoughts on social media insisting UEFA’s decision is ‘better late than never’. 

He wrote: ‘UEFA is finally taking decisive action. Enforcing financial fair play rules and punishing financial doping is essential for the future of football. 

‘We’ve been asking for severe action against Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain for years. Better late than never.’ 

A report from the Independent went further to suggest that a points deduction from the Premier League is ‘highly likely’ to follow.

The report indicates that Premier League committees had already discussed potential punishments in the event that UEFA punished City. 

City are currently in second place in the Premier League on 51 points, 22 points adrift of runaway leaders Liverpool.  

On a night where City were left reeling from the two-year ban, a clip resurfaced from last season of Guardiola insisting that his club wouldn’t be banned from the Champions League

Speaking in December 2018, Guardiola was confident that City wouldn’t be punished. 

‘We will not be banned,’ he said. 

‘That’s what I think because I trust in my chairman, with my CEO, what they have explained to me.  

Speaking in December 2018, Guardiola said Manchester City wouldn't be banned from Europe

Speaking in December 2018, Guardiola said Manchester City wouldn’t be banned from Europe

Guardiola was adamant and said he trusted what he had been told by the City club chiefs

Guardiola was adamant and said he trusted what he had been told by the City club chiefs

UEFA said City failed to co-operate with an investigation into the matter launched by its Club Financial Control Body

UEFA said City failed to co-operate with an investigation into the matter launched by its Club Financial Control Body

MEET THE MAN WHO DOWNED MANCHESTER CITY 

Football Leaks hacker Rui Pinto – the man who exposed Manchester City’s breaking of Financial Fair Play rules – remains in prison awaiting a court case.

Pinto hacked his way into club emails from his Portugal home in 2015 and then passed them on to the media and sparked the investigation into City’s finances. Despite being widely praised by the football world, Pinto was arrested and sent to prison, and will face a trial for 90 different counts of hacking sabotage and fraud. 

Pinto was denied an appeal on Thursday and has been in jail since last March, while awaiting a verdict by the Lisbon Court of Appeal.

News of UEFA’s decision to ban City from the Champions League for the next two seasons saw Pinto’s name start trending with the hashtag #freePinto on Friday night.

Borussia Dortmund fans even held aloft a banner appealing for authorities to drop the case and allow Pinto to walk free. 

Football Leaks was created back in 2015 and has exposed everything from tax fraud to clubs breaching FFP.

Pinto reportedly got hold of 70 million documents and 3.4 terabytes of information and told Der Spiegel recently that he was aware of the risks of his work.

‘I was aware that anything could happen,’ he said to the German newspaper.

‘I knew that Portuguese authorities prosecute whistleblowers, so I had to be ready for that. The Portuguese authorities are afraid of what I know and that’s why it is important that I not lose my mind.

‘In the beginning, I wrote notes related to the case in my notebook, but then it was taken from me. My lawyer was present when they searched my cell and said it was illegal to take my notes from me.

‘It wasn’t the prison guards who did it, but the Portuguese prosecutors. They do anything they want. It was a month before they returned the notebook to me.’

By Alec Fenn 

‘I trust in them. If it happens, because UEFA decide that, we will accept it and move forward.’

Guardiola’s future has been placed into doubt following news of City’s ban from European competition. 

The former Barcelona boss took charge of City in 2016, with his current contract set to run until the summer of 2021. 

During his time at City Guardiola has won two Premier League titles, one FA Cup and two League Cups.

Former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is the favourite to take over at City if Guardiola leaves according to Paddy Power, who price the Argentine at 5/2.

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers is priced at 9/2, while RB Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann is at odds of 7/1. 

City have been involved in the Champions League each season since the 2011-12 campaign

City have been involved in the Champions League each season since the 2011-12 campaign

Social media was dominated by talk of City’s two-year ban from UEFA competition. 

Many used the opportunity to poke fun at Arsenal who appear unlikely to capitalise on the extra spot, with the Gunners currently languishing in tenth.  

Gary Lineker joked he is ‘not sure if City can afford the legal fees’ to mount the challenge.

While Arsenal fan Piers Morgan tweeted: ‘Arsenal’s chances of qualifying for Champions League just got 25% better.’

Rivals of City were quick to take advantage of City’s Valentine’s Day poem which left gaps following ‘roses are red, violets are blue…’  

Many opted to finish the poem with ‘no Champions League, until 2022’.  

WHAT DOES BAN MEAN FOR THE REST OF THE PREMIER LEAGUE? 

Sheffield United in the Champions League?

One major question on the lips of many Premier League clubs is who will take City’s Champions League spot if the club finish in the top-four following their two-year ban from next season.

While UEFA and the Premier League have not confirmed what will happen regarding England’s qualification spots, UEFA rule 4.08 says: ‘A club which is not admitted to the competition is replaced by the next best-placed club in the top domestic championship of the same association, provided the new club fulfills the admission criteria. One potential solution is that fifth place qualifying for European’s biggest club competition.’

This would mean Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United – who currently occupy that fifth position with a dozen Premier League games to go – are in pole position to qualify for the Champions League if Manchester City end up finishing in the top-four.

The Blades were sitting in England’s third tier just over three years ago and were playing in the Championship last season, meaning potential ties against Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain would cap off a meteoric rise by Wilder’s side.

It would also mean Sheffield United could attract some of Europe’s elite players which would have long-term benefits regarding the stature of the club.

That being said, given Oliver Norwood, John Fleck and Lys Mousset’s performances this season, why would Wilder look to replace them?

However, Sheffield United’s hold of fifth-place could go out of their hands if Tottenham beat Aston Villa on Sunday, with Jose Mourinho’s side sitting two points behind the Blades with a game in hand.

Arsenal and Manchester United given hope

Arsenal and Manchester United’s seasons – both of which can only be described as disastrous so far – have just been kicked into life.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Red Devils sat six points behind the Champions League spots before City’s ruling – now that gap has been reduced to four given fifth-place’s potential eligibility for Europe’s top club competition.

If United end up reaching the Champions League next season, it may give Solskjaer a boost with regards to his long-term future at Old Trafford. The Norwegian manager is under pressure following several poor results over the past 12 months.

Meanwhile, Arsenal currently sit 10 points behind fourth-placed Chelsea as Champions League football next season seemingly looked like a bridge too far for new head coach Mikel Arteta.

The north London club have registered just 31 points this season – their lowest total after 25 games since the 1912-13 season – having drawn 13 times since the start of the campaign and winning just six games.

They have also gone three years without Champions League football, with their last match in Europe’s premier club competition being a crushing 10-2 aggregate defeat in a 2017 last-16 tie.

However, if the Gunners beat Newcastle United on Sunday afternoon, they can close the gap on fifth-placed Sheffield United to just five points.

Both Arsenal and Manchester United, alongside Wolverhampton Wanderers, also have winning the Europa League as a potential way-in to next season’s Champions League proper – but their end to the domestic season has just got interesting.

Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton with eyes on Europe

When Carlo Ancelotti took over as Everton boss, the Toffees sat in 15th place and sat four points above the relegation zone.

After a small resurgence masterminded by the Italian at Goodison Park, Everton now look highly likely to qualify for Europe next season, with spots in both the Champions League and Europa League up for grabs.

The Toffees currently sit in seventh place – two points behind Sheffield United and five points behind Ancelotti’s former club Chelsea in fourth.

If Manchester City beat Aston Villa in the League Cup final, and a top-four club wins the FA Cup in May, then eighth place would qualify for the Europa League.

Goodison Park has only seen two European campaigns in the last nine seasons, so qualification for Europe would confirm Ancelotti’s position as an Everton fan favourite.

But given Ancelotti has won the Champions League three times as a manager, he may just fancy his chances to get his new team playing with the big boys sometime soon.

By Sam Blitz 



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