Premier League giants Manchester City have been banned from competing in the Champions League for two seasons over Financial Fair play rules. The club has also been fined €30 million by UEFA after they were found to have misled European football’s governing body over sponsorship revenues.
Various news sources have revealed that UEFA handed down the punishment, which includes the €30 million fine, to the reigning Premier League champions after they falsely inflated their sponsorship revenues. The Guardian further reported that the breach was found when the club made their submissions for the FFP (Financial Fair Play) compliance process.
“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,” read the statement from UEFA.
“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 is subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the decision comes months after a leak published in German magazine Der Spiegel revealed that Manchester City were amongst many sides that skirted FFP rules. That list also included Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Barcelona with “leaked’ emails and documents showing how through their owners and various other methods some of the world’s biggest sides skirted UEFA’s laws.
Manchester City in particular, in a detailed leak, were shown to have used their owner, and part of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan to fund their annual sponsorship of the club’s stadium, kit and academy via the country’s Etihad airline. The Cityzens’s statement went on to reveal that the club were disappointed but not surprised by the announcement and it added that the club will look to seek out an “independent body to impartially” conduct an investigation.
“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 statement read.
“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.”
— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 14, 2020