MANCHESTER CITY have been banned from the Champions League for two years and hit with a £25million by Uefa.
The Cityzens have been found guilty of seriously misleading European football’s governing body and broken Financial Fair play rules.
City were found guilty by Uefa’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) of falsely inflating their sponsorship revenues when submitting accounts as part of the FFP compliance process.
And that means they will now be suspended from any Uefa European competition for the next two seasons as well as being hit in the pocket.
A statement from the club said: “Manchester City is disappointed but not surprised by today’s announcement by the UEFA Adjudicatory Chamber. 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.”
The guilty verdict follows an investigation that was triggered after German magazine Der Spiegel “leaked” emails and documents in November 2018.
They appeared to provide evidence that City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the Abu Dhabi ruling family was mostly funding the £67.5m-a-year sponsorship of the club’s shirts, stadium and academy via his nation’s Etihad airline.
One of the emails leaked claimed that just £8m of that sponsorship in the 2015/16 campaign was funded directly from Etihad.
The rest came via Mansour’s own company vehicle for the ownership of City, the Abu Dhabi United Group.
FFP was introduced in 2011 in order to stop European clubs overspending on player wages, restricting the amount owners are able to use of their own cash to cover losses.
Money from sponsorships obviously boost revenues and increase how much a team can spend, so if Mansour was funding the Etihad deal himself then led to the allegation City had deceived Uefa’s CFCB.