Manchester City will have to restructure their finances completely, potentially leading to the sale of leading players such as Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Aymeric Laporte, if the Court of Arbitration for Sport upholds the two-year ban from the Champions League imposed by UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body.
City also face the possibility of being stripped of their Premier League title won in 2014 if a separate Premier League investigation were to find that they had breached financial rules, which City deny.
Manager Pep Guardiola is said to be supportive of the club’s position and in no imminent danger of leaving, with the club maintaining they will be cleared of breaches of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules.
But in the separate Premier League inquiry, City have yet to be charged and the governing body have issued no comment, even though there has been speculation about a points deduction this season, which would now be largely meaningless.
If City is charged, the Premier League rule book allows a commission to deduct points retrospectively, which would impact on City’s positions in the seasons affected.
Though not confirmed by the Premier League, the period under investigation would appear to be from 2012 to 2016, as that is when UEFA’s CFCB says that City overstated their sponsorship income.
It is unclear whether it would cover City’s 2012 Premier League title wins though it would cover the 2014 win.
City will not receive any sympathy from the other 19 Premier League clubs, many of whom stand to benefit from City being permanently weakened.
Premier League rules are less stringent than UEFA’s, allowing losses of £105million over three seasons but rely on the figures submitted by the clubs.
City has insisted all their submissions were accurate but UEFA’s CFCB say sponsorship revenue was ‘overstated’.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp admitted he was stunned at news of the ban. ‘It was a shock,’ he said.
‘Complete wow. What they have done on the pitch is exceptional. The rest, I don’t know. You believe the people you work with. I feel for them. They can appeal so we will see what happens then. It is obviously serious.’
City are likely to face a D-Day in court this summer, with proceeding needing to be done before July 23, when the Europa League starts for the lowest qualified English club.
City also cannot be sure whether UEFA’s CFCB will approve their budgets going forward if CAS agrees they have previously overstated income, so they will be unsure as to how much they can spend. –Mailonline.com