“Serious” violations of UEFA’s financial fair play regulations have resulted in a hefty penalty for Manchester City.
European soccer’s governing body announced Friday that it has banned Manchester City from all UEFA club competitions — including the Champions League — for the next two seasons and fined the club 30 million pounds ($32.5 million) at the recommendation of the organization’s Club Financial Control Body.
The CFCB’s Adjudicatory Chamber found that Manchester City had overstated its sponsorship revenue from Etihad Airways in information submitted to UEFA from 2012 to 2016. It also found that the club failed to cooperate with the investigation.
The decision can be appealed to the international Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Manchester City calls UEFA ‘prejudicial’ in response
City’s official response to the UEFA punishments had some bite to it.
In a three-paragraph statement, City called the process “flawed and consistently leaked” and ultimately “prejudicial.”
“Manchester City is disappointed but not surprised by today’s announcement by the UEFA Adjudicatory Chamber,” the statement read. “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.”
City confirmed its plans to pursue a judgment with the Court of Arbitration for Sport “at the earliest opportunity.”
What did Manchester City do that was illegal?
It was reported back in May that UEFA was investigating Manchester City for a leaked scheme in which the club’s executives hid cash injections from the club’s owner, the royal family of Abu Dhabi. To launder the money, it was reported as sponsorship income from Etihad, the national airline of Abu Dhabi.
UEFA’s financial regulations forbid clubs from receiving more than a capped amount of investment from ownership, and this clearly violated those rules. Manchester City has strongly denied the allegations.
City may face points deduction in Premier League
To top it all off, Manchester City could be docked points in the Premier League.
The Independent’s Miguel Delaney reports that City’s punishment will “force the Premier League to act” on its licensing rule. In order to get a license to play in the league, clubs must submit information regarding their operation, and it must match the information given to UEFA.
Delaney reports the Premier League was already having discussions regarding potential punishment for City, and a points deduction is “now seen as highly likely.” With City already banned from European competition next season, its point total is rendered mostly meaningless, but it’s still worth keeping an eye on how the league reacts to UEFA’s first major exercising of its authority.
Yahoo Sports’ Joey Gulino contributed to this report.
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