Days after lifting their second successive Premier League trophy with a one-point lead over Liverpool, Manchester City have been dealt a huge blow.
According to reports, UEFA investigators want Manchester City to be banned from the Champions League for an entire season if they are found guilty of breaking financial rules and regulations.
However, according to a source close to the matter, the final verdict is yet to be finalized. The investigatory panel is being led by Yves Leterme, who is the former Belgian prime minister and the chairman of UEFA’s independent financial board control.
There are no votes in such cases, which is why the final decision lies with Yves Leterme. With help from his colleagues, who have firmly expressed their desire to implement a season-long ban on Manchester City, Yves will make a recommendation this week.
Wrongdoings or Fabricated News?
Yves Leterme and his team have been involved in the investigation since the evidence was first uncovered in a series of leaks published by a German newspaper Der Spiegel last year.
According to the leaks, Manchester City broke the Financial Fair Play regulations by inflating the value of a multimillion pound sponsorship deal.
This was not the first time City were being accused of such a crime as they were fine £49m in 2014 for a previous breach of regulations. However, the club insisted that there was no wrongdoing but the ban was upheld after an investigation.
For this case, Leterme had warned of “exclusion from UEFA competitions” if the allegations are proved to be correct.
The Premier League also confirmed they had “contacted Manchester City to request information regarding recent allegations and is in ongoing dialogue with the club.”
Manchester City denied all wrongdoing and released a statement on the “purportedly hacked or stolen” materials.
We will not be providing any comment on out of context materials purportedly hacked or stolen from City Football Group and Manchester City personnel and associated people. The attempt to damage the club’s reputation is organized and clear.
Following the news that an investigation will be launched in March, Manchester City posted a message on their website which read:
Manchester City welcomes the opening of a formal UEFA investigation as an opportunity to bring to an end the speculation resulting from the illegal hacking and out of context publication of City emails. The accusation of financial irregularities are entirely false. The club’s published accounts are full and complete and a matter of legal and regulatory record.
The UEFA adjudicatory chambers will decide whether it agrees with Leterme’s recommendation, which is expected in the next 48 hours.
It remains unlikely that Manchester City will be banned from next season’s Champions League since they can appeal and take their case to the Court of Arbitration Sport.
Despite this, it will be a huge concern for the club as they are still seeking European glory for the first time in their history.
Earlier this season, Manchester City released a statement which termed these financial irregularities as entirely false.
Manchester City welcomes the opening of a formal UEFA investigation as an opportunity to bring to an end the speculation resulting from the illegal hacking and out of context publication of City emails.
The club’s published accounts are full and complete and a matter of legal and regulatory record.