SiLENT AT THE ETi­HAd

Sunday Mirror - - FOWLER ROBBIE -

MANCH­ESTER CITY should be booted out of the Cham­pi­ons League if it is proved that they cheated to beat Fi­nan­cial Fair Play.

I am a big ad­mirer of my for­mer club and, un­der Pep Guardi­ola (above), they con­tinue to raise the stan­dards of the Pre­mier League.

But four years ago, they were hit with a £49mil­lion fine by UEFA for fail­ing FFP.

And if – and let’s not for­get it is still a very big “if” – it is proved they cooked the books to beat the reg­u­la­tions that all clubs com­pet­ing in Europe have to ad­here to, then hit­ting them in the pocket will not be enough this time.

Be­fore any City fans break into a sweat of out­rage, I think it’s im­por­tant to stress here that I am not try­ing to play the role of judge, jury and ex­e­cu­tioner.

It is vi­tal that no one jumps to any con­clu­sions solely on the ba­sis of the al­le­ga­tions re­cently made by Foot­ball Leaks.

First of all, we don’t know whether the claims are true.

And, se­condly, if they are, then City must be al­lowed to present a case for the de­fence.

But the si­lence from those in charge at the Eti­had is deaf­en­ing.

And the sug­ges­tion by UEFA pres­i­dent Alek­san­dar Ce­ferin this week that Euro­pean foot­ball’s gov­ern­ing body has a “con­crete case” is a huge devel­op­ment.

City paid their dues back in 2014. If that pun­ish­ment wasn’t enough to stop them re­of­fend­ing, then UEFA must come up with the kind of cen­sure that will be a proper de­ter­rent.

If that means ban­ning them from the Cham­pi­ons League, the tour­na­ment will be poorer for it.

But the pun­ish­ment must fit the crime.

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