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All You Need To Know: Manchester City FC's European ban

Published at :February 15, 2020 at 7:49 PM
Modified at :February 15, 2020 at 8:03 PM
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The Cityzens have been dealt a huge blow in their pursuit of a first-ever European trophy.

Premier League defending champions, Manchester City FC, have been handed two-year ban from any European club competition including a €30m fine by the UEFA. It was found that the club had seriously misled the governing body in their probe and grossly violated the rules mentioned in the Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations. The club released an official statement soon after that said, “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.” [KH_ADWORDS type="3" align="center"][/KH_ADWORDS]

What The Ban Means

Here is a detailed timeline of how the probe was initiated and how it finally led to UEFA coming down heavily on the club - The probe into the matter started back in November 2018, when German publication, Der Spiegel, alleging that City had circumvented the FFP rules as they had directed funds into the club from their owner, Sheikh Mansour, through sponsors. The publication released emails and other documents which were dated back to 2014. The club chose not to comment on the allegations and deemed the content as “stolen and leaked”. The numbers suggested that Etihad Airways funded only £8 million in 2015-16 while the rest of the money, amounting to £59.5 million filed as sponsorship revenue was directed from Sheikh Mansour and his private equity firm which owns the club. However, this revelation led to UEFA launching an official investigation into the club, stating that the focus will be on the FFP rules breached as mentioned in several 'media outlets.' In May 2019, The New York Times revealed that the prosecution body in the probe, the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) were suggesting a ban from the Champions League for at least one season. This is when the rumours of potentially getting banned from the European competitions started to make rounds around the club. In June 2019, Manchester City took their first step and appealed to the CAS, challenging UEFA’s decision to refer them to their financial watchdog, CPCB. The initial bid failed in November 2019, as the club could not compel CAS to halt UEFA’s investigation into the matter. [KH_ADWORDS type="4" align="center"][/KH_ADWORDS]

Why They Were Banned

Eventually, CAS released certain documents on 12 February 2020, showing that Manchester City sought damages from UEFA after terming the probe and leaks in regard to FFP rule breaches as 'unlawful.' However, a UEFA official called the club’s claims as 'groundless' and 'unacceptable in tone.' As a result of the probe, on February 14, 2020, the club was found to have seriously misled the body and breached the FFP regulations. This led Manchester City receiving a ban from Champions League and other European competitions for two seasons with an additional fine to be paid by the club as well. Regardless of what is said, this ban will have sent shockwaves around the football fraternity and could see the outfit struggle on and off the pitch due to the consequences of the order. With an impending appeal to the CAS, it will be interesting to see if the ban is upheld or overturned. This throws the club’s ambitions into air and raises a lot of questions that may be answered in the coming days.

Implications Of The Ban And The Next Steps

The initial concerns relate around Pep Guardiola, who may now be tempted to jump ship, as the final missing piece from his crown at City (the UCL trophy) won’t be possible to achieve for the next two seasons. Moreover, this could also have serious ramifications in relation to their player recruitment and player retention. Without European football on offer, it will be hard for the club to attract top-rated players and even tougher to retain their current stars, who would look to find other opportunities. It also puts a question mark on the UCL qualification positions in the Premier League, which may now lead to the fifth-placed team gaining entry into the competition as Manchester City firmly sit on the second-place. [KH_RELATED_NEWS title="Related News| Article Continues Below"][/KH_RELATED_NEWS] Furthermore, it might compel the outfit to throw caution to the wind on the domestic front and go all out in winning the current UCL campaign, which would create an interesting series of events as the winner gains direct entry into next year’s competition, the one City are supposed to be banned from. Lastly, the ban from UEFA could also compel the FA to look into the matter and stripping off trophies won by the Cityzens in the time period of their alleged breaches of FFP rules could well be on the cards. This is certainly a horrific phase for the fans and the club management.