Monday 16 September 2019

Manchester City 'facing the threat of Champions League ban' as UEFA steps up investigation

Pep Guardiola’s side face an anxious wait as UEFA ponder possible punishment for Financial Fair Play breaches (Martin Rickett/PA)
Pep Guardiola’s side face an anxious wait as UEFA ponder possible punishment for Financial Fair Play breaches (Martin Rickett/PA)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Premier League champions Manchester City are facing an anxious wait to discover whether they will face punishment from UEFA for a breach of Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, with widespread reports suggesting they could face a ban from next season's Champions League.

City are under investigation for allegedly hiding millions of pounds of funding investment from their Abu Dhabi-based owners, which would mean they have fallen foul of FFP regulations. 

Financial documents released by the Football Leaks suggested City's holding company paid £59.5million of Etihad's annual sponsorship deal, with only £8m coming from the airline.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin revealed City would discover 'very soon' what potential punishment awaits, as he confirmed an investigation into City's finances will soon reach a conclusion.

"We are assessing the situation," said Ceferin. "We have an independent body working on it. Very soon we will have the answers on what will happen in this concrete case."

UEFA's eagerness to make a stand on FFP may be bad news for City, but it remains to be seen whether the ultimate sanction of a Champions League expulsion will be considered.

Meanwhile, City boss Guardiola is hopeful his club can agree a new deal to keep Leroy Sane at the Premier League champions for "many, many years".

Guardiola revealed in October the club were in contract discussions with the winger, whose recent performances have been outstanding.

There have been no public updates since but, with the 22-year-old already committed until 2021, City boss Guardiola insists there is no rush.

Guardiola, who has had no personal involvement in the negotiations, said: "I don't have any info about the club, about (there) being trouble with Leroy. The last info I had was that it's going well.

"But the process is not one day. (With) Raheem Sterling it was not one day. Except for Kevin De Bruyne, which was done in one or two days, the other ones sometimes take longer. Hopefully he can stay here for many, many years."

Guardiola feels the set-up at City will help keep their prize assets out of the hands of Europe's biggest clubs.

He said: "Barcelona and Real Madrid are able to buy these players but they are comfortable. We try to keep these players, like every club. We try because they are young, that's why we want to keep them.

"Kevin (De Bruyne), Raheem (Sterling), Leroy, Gabriel (Jesus) and (John) Stones, they have Europe in front of them. They like to stay here."

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