MANCHESTER CITY CRISIS Question & Answer: Can City really retain top stars without Champions League football?
Manchester City was shocked on Friday by the news that they have been banned from European competition by UEFA for two seasons.
The decision comes from an investigation that City assumed they had erroneously inflated their commercial income to comply with the rules of the financial fair play agency.
The club is now confronted with the reality of what a suspension of playing in the Champions League could do for its status and the damage it could cause to the long-term plan of Abu Dhabi.
Here Sportsmail goes through the main questions, to get an idea of how bad things are for Pep Guardiola and Co., and whether it can get worse.
Pep Guardiola saw his team torn apart after Manchester City was hit with a UEFA ban
So what happened?
On Friday evening, UEFA issued a statement confirming that their financial control club has considered Manchester City as “serious breaches” of their financial fair play statements. As a result, they have decided to block the ruling Premier League champions from accessing European competitions for the next two seasons. Oh, and they also imposed a € 30 million fine on them while they were busy.
That is a serious punishment, what did they do?
Well, according to the UEFA’s extensive investigation, the club was entangled in overestimating their sponsorship income to make it appear that they were even breaking and thus adhering to FFP rules. This decision was made based on the accounts submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016.
What didn’t matter was City’s attitude to the whole process. UEFA pointed the finger at the club and stated that they “had not cooperated” in the investigation. Not a good look for the club or the owners of Emirates.
Sheikh Mansour (right) has challenged the practices of his club in view of their financial transactions
So it’s safe to say that City isn’t happy then?
Not at all. They issued a statement from their own attacking UEFA’s principal investigator Yves Leterme and suggested that he was behind the leaks that indicated the decision that has now been made public.
They have confirmed, as was to be expected, that they will appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. A final decision from them can take months, and even then City is not ready yet.
If they don’t get an answer that they like from CAS, they can present it to the Swiss Supreme Court or the European Commission. This can run and run.
Are the players happy to wait and find out?
Raheem Sterling has already been released and has publicly committed his future to City, regardless of the outcome. But there have not been many who have followed the English international.
But no doubt, even if players really want to stay, that decision may not be theirs. The revenues that the club would lose by not playing Champions League football, estimated at nearly £ 170 million, will have to be supplemented from some commodities.
Selling players would be the most likely source. And there are more than enough suitors out there, such as Kevin De Bruyne and Sterling.
Raheem Sterling has already committed to stay in City despite the sanctions
So if City is not in the Champions League, who is?
We don’t know this. There is a suggestion that the person who finishes fifth can take the last coveted Champions League spot if City is blocked, but it’s a lot more complicated than that.
The amount of time the process takes makes it unlikely that City’s position will be known by the time the Premier League has to register requests for teams to participate in European competitions next summer. There is even a chance that, with the likelihood of a higher appeal, City’s prohibition can be stopped for even a year.
A ban would certainly help the will of Arsenal and Manchester United in the long term, but this season it seems unlikely that you will get anything other than a Europa League ticket.
Now that City is not eligible for Europe, there is a glimmer of hope for people like Arsenal
What makes the Premier League this?
Ah yes, well this is where it can get a bit messy for City.
The Premier League started its own investigation in March last year and has been investigating City’s financial situation for almost a year now.
It would be no surprise if they waited for the outcome of City’s struggle with UEFA before putting their own sanctions on the table – which could be significant.
What was a huge blow to losing Champions League football and revenues could now be exacerbated by severe penalties from the top flight of England.
They couldn’t lose titles … could they?
It is certainly possible.
There is a section on disciplinary proceedings in the Premier League Handbook. Due to the extent of the crime of the city, it will certainly be transferred to an independent judicial panel to clean up. What will worry City is that their forces seem limitless.
They have the option of filing unlimited fines and points deductions and they are able to strip teams of titles. There is nothing that says they can’t do it historically, so any of the titles from City can be threatened during that time of investigation.
What is not clear is whether those titles would then be awarded to the team that finished second. In Italy, after the 2006 Calciopoli scandal, Juventus was stripped of their 2005 title, but it was never awarded to anyone else.
It remains to be seen whether the Premier League would follow.
It’s possible that City can be stripped of their Premier League titles