UEFA announced on Friday that Manchester City would be banned from the Champions League for two seasons and fined just under £25 million pounds for a breach in Financial Fair Play regulations.
In a shock decision, UEFA have banned Manchester City from all European competition for the next two seasons. By misrepresenting sponsorship revenue in order for ownership to pump more money into the club for investment, City Football Group and their owners have made a dire mistake that could seriously alter the club’s trajectory.
While the decision can (and most likely will) be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for sport, the decision is almost unprecedented in the modern era of football, and there are no guarantees that the club will be able to have the decision overturned.
UEFA have been looking to make an example of a club to truly show the strength of their Financial Fair Play policy, and although many have violated it and been hit with fines or transfer bans, City will suffer the full brunt as they engage in a stricter enforcement doctrine. Per an official club statement:
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 ever begun. The subsequent flawed and consistently leaked UEFA process he oversaw has meant there was little doubt in the result he would deliver…Simply put, this is a case initiated by UEFA, prosecuted by UEFA, and judged by UEFA…the club will pursue an impartial judgement as quickly as possible.
The immediate future of the club is in serious danger. Without European football, several top talents, including Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sané, could angle for a move away from the Etihad, while Pep Guardiola’s already-uncertain future could now be in doubt.
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City will now be forever associated with FFP and UEFA’s unprecedented decision, and while the appeal process could change this verdict, this could be a massive sea change for the team. This seismic news is just the latest blow in what has been an extremely difficult 2019/20 campaign. The future is dim, but one more chance remains to win the competition, without any interference of governing bodies, and it begins on Feb. 26 against Real Madrid.