Manchester City have been banned from the UEFA Champions League for two years over “serious” breaches to financial fair play rules.
The reigning Premier League champions were fined $48m (AUD) and barred from competing in all UEFA events until the 2022-23 season due to the club overstating its sponsorship revenue between 2012-2016, a decision which has sent shockwaves through English football.
“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,” UEFA said in a statement overnight.
Manchester City slammed the ban and confirmed their intention to take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport “at the earliest opportunity”.
“Manchester City is disappointed but not surprised by today’s announcement by the UEFA Adjudicatory Chamber,” the club said.
“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.”
Both the fine and suspension from all European club competition for two years is expected to affect the club’s ability to sign and retain players, while also affecting the future of Premier League-winning manager Pep Guardiola.
The Spaniard’s contract expires in 2021 but is widely tipped to leave the English Premier League powerhouse should the club’s appeal fail.