Daily Mail


Threat of Cham­pi­ons League ban over Fair Play breach

- By MATT LAW­TON Chief Sports Re­porter Sports · UEFA Champions League · Soccer · Soccer Business · Manchester · Manchester City Football Club · UEFA · The Football Association · Spain · Spain national football team · Portugal · Portugal national football team · Morocco · Morocco national football team · England · England national football team · Netherlands · Josep Guardiola · Germany · Germany national football team · Kevin De Bruyne

Manch­ester city face be­ing banned from the cham­pi­ons League fol­low­ing al­le­ga­tions that they breached Fi­nan­cial Fair Play reg­u­la­tions.

it is claimed in doc­u­ments re­vealed by the hack­ers Foot­ball Leaks that city’s hold­ing com­pany paid nearly £60mil­lion of eti­had’s an­nual spon­sor­ship deal, with only £8m com­ing from the air­line.

UeFa pres­i­dent alek­sander ce­ferin con­firmed yes­ter­day that a ‘con­crete case’ is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated. city were fined £ 49m and had their squad capped for fail­ing FFP rules four years ago. a se­nior UeFa source said that if found guilty of fi­nan­cial cheat­ing, ‘sport­ing sanc­tions’ could fol­low be­cause the ‘in­tegrity of UeFa’ was at stake.

a cham­pi­ons League ban could be among the sanc­tions if UeFa con­clude that the fine in 2014 had no im­pact.

MANCH­ESTER City are fac­ing a Cham­pi­ons League ban for al­leged breaches of Fi­nan­cial Fair Play reg­u­la­tions.

The English cham­pi­ons were the sub­ject of a se­ries of stun­ning rev­e­la­tions made by the Foot­ball Leaks hack­ers last month, not least with re­gard to in­flated spon­sor­ship deals seem­ingly de­signed to beat UEFA’s FFP sys­tem.

Among the re­ports, based on doc­u­ments seized by Foot­ball Leaks, was a claim that City’s hold­ing com­pany paid £ 59.5mil­lion of Eti­had’s an­nual spon­sor­ship deal, with only £8m com­ing from the air­line.

Yes­ter­day, UEFA pres­i­dent Alek­sander Ce­ferin con­firmed that what he de­scribed as ‘a con­crete case’ was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

City were fined £ 49m and had their squad capped for fail­ing FFP rules four years ago. A se­nior UEFA source said that, if they are found guilty of fi­nan­cial cheat­ing, ‘sport­ing sanc­tions’ would need to fol­low, not least be­cause the ‘in­tegrity of UEFA’ was at stake.

A Cham­pi­ons League ban would be among the sanc­tions UEFA could im­pose if they con­clude that the fine in 2014 had no im­pact.

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

While the news was not so good for City, there was a boost yes­ter­day for the FA if they bid for the 2030 World Cup.

News of a co-bid be­tween Spain, Por­tu­gal and Morocco looked like an un­beat­able com­bi­na­tion, given the sup­port they could at­tract from both Africa and Europe.

But Ce­ferin said: ‘I’m not in favour of cross-con­fed­er­a­tion bids. Some­one should say to the politi­cians it’s not up to them to speak about who will be hosts for sports events.

‘I’ve seen many politi­cians say­ing they will be can­di­dates for this or that but they need to speak to their mem­ber as­so­ci­a­tions. Some of them don’t even know about the pub­lic state­ments of their politi­cians. ‘But no, I’m not in favour of that (the Morocco) idea and I will do what­ever I can to have one Euro­pean bid be­cause that raises the chances of Europe host­ing the World Cup.’ The in­tro­duc­tion of VAR at the last 16 stage of this sea­son’s Cham­pi­ons League was con­firmed yes­ter­day, and it was also con­firmed that Eng­land will host the women’s Euros in 2021. ‘ We saw what a suc­cess the 2017 Euros were in Hol­land and how the women’s game has grown,’ said Ce­ferin. ‘I think they will be an even big­ger suc­cess in Eng­land. I’m very op­ti­mistic and I’m look­ing for­ward to it.’

Mean­while, City man­ager Pep Guardi­ola (left) has called for pa­tience in ne­go­ti­a­tions with Leroy Sane over a new con­tract.

The club have been dis­cussing a deal for sev­eral months but the 22-year-old Ger­many in­ter­na­tional has yet to com­mit his long-term fu­ture. Guardi­ola wants Sane to stay and is con­fi­dent of a res­o­lu­tion.

‘The last in­for­ma­tion I had was that it’s go­ing well but the process does not take one day,’ said Guardi­ola. ‘With Kevin De Bruyne it was done in one or two days, but the other ones some­times take longer. Hope­fully he can stay here for many, many years.’

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