- Manchester City barred from Champions League play for 2 years for breaching UEFA’s financial rules
- The club plans to appeal the decision
- City a +400 favorite to win the 2020 Champions League
UEFA has decided to ban Manchester City from Champions League competition for each of the next 2 seasons after it was deemed that the club engaged in “serious breaches” of European soccer’s financial fair play regulations. The club is reportedly planning to appeal the decision immediately.
Additionally, Manchester City was fined 30 million Euros ($32.5 million). The club reportedly tried to derail the investigation by UEFA’s financial regulators by appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. However, the court declined the appeal back in November, which allowed investigators to proceed. City tried to appeal the case on procedural grounds, but the court declined to hear the case until UEFA concluded its investigation.
Club Denies Allegations
Manchester City has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, but if the ruling stands the club will be banned from European soccer’s most prestigious competitions for each of the next two seasons. In a statement released earlier in the year, the club said, “The accusation of financial irregularities are entirely false.”
Many worried that UEFA’s ability to regulate finances for its clubs would be dealt a death blow if City were to avoid punishment. The rules, which were initially installed in 2011, are designed to level the playing field among Europe’s clubs. However, rich teams like City, AC Milan and Paris St. Germain have been able to escape punishment in the past for potentially skirting the rules.
City have become one of the premier teams in the world since Sheik Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates took over several years ago. The new ownership has spent all sorts of money in order to transform City from a Premier League also-ran into one of the most expensive and prestigious sides in Europe.
City have won the Premier League in each of the last two seasons, and four times overall since the new ownership group took charge in 2008. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in the club since the ownership change, and the current roster is the most expensive of any soccer team on the planet.
City Among Betting Favorites to Win 2020 Champions League
While the team will likely be shut out of the competition in 2021 and 2022, Pep Guardiola’s side remains the betting favorite to win Champions League for the first time this season. As of this writing, City is a +400 favorite at MyBookie to win Europe’s top prize this season. That puts them narrowly ahead of reigning Champions League winners Liverpool, who are at +450. Barcelona (+500), Paris St. Germain (+700) and Bayern Munich (+700) are all competing for the title, as well.
City will face a stiff test against Real Madrid in the round-of-16.
While City are in a good position when it comes to this season’s Champions League, the likelihood of a third-straight Premier League crown is dwindling with each passing week. Liverpool currently hold a massive 22-point edge over second-place City in the league table with 13 matches left to play. It would take a monumental collapse from Jurgen Klopp’s side at this point for anyone other than the Reds to win the English top flight. Liverpool are now a massive -100000 favorite to win the league at MyBookie.
City have been accused by UEFA of “overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts” and failing to “cooperate in the investigation.” The club responded that they were “disappointed by not surprised” by the punishment handed down on Friday.
Per ESPN, the club is confident that it will be cleared of any wrongdoing once an independent third party is able to rule on the matter.
UEFA’s official statement said, “The Adjudicatory Chamber, having considered all the evidence, has found that Manchester City Football Club committed serious breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations by overstating its sponsorship revenue in its account and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016.”
While the appeals process plays itself out, the club will proceed as usual. While another Premier League crown is almost certainly not in the offing for this season, City can try to make the most of their last Champions League appearance for a while later this year.