Manchester City's two-year European ban explained
The background behind City's punishment by UEFA, and what will happen next
Last Updated: 17/02/20 12:32pm
Manchester City have been banned from UEFA club competitions for the next two seasons after being found to have committed "serious breaches" of financial regulations.
The reigning Premier League champions, who have also been fined £24.9m, intend to appeal against the sanctions to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Here, Sky Sports answers some of the questions arising from the situation...
Why have City been punished?
City have been found to have overstated sponsorship revenue and break-even information in accounts submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016. UEFA acted on the decision of the independent Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) following a hearing held last month.
How did the hearing come about?
UEFA opened an investigation into City following a series of new allegations about the club in the media, led by German magazine Der Spiegel.
When will the ban be imposed?
In the absence of a successful appeal, City will be unable to play in Europe in the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons.
Can they continue in the Champions League this term?
Yes. City have been drawn against 13-time European champions Real Madrid in the last-16 of this season's competition. The first leg of that tie will be played on February 26 at the Bernabeu, with the return match scheduled for March 10 in Manchester.
City's FFP case: The timeline…
May, 2014 - City were handed a £49m fine by UEFA - £32m of which was suspended - for failing UEFA Financial Fair Play rules and were restricted to a 21-man Champions League squad for the 2014-15 season.
November, 2018 - German magazine Der Spiegel, citing documents and emails provided by the whistle-blowing platform Football Leaks, published a series of articles which accused City of trying to get around European football's FFP rules. City had repeatedly described Der Spiegel's reports as the product of a "clear and organised" attempt to tarnish their reputation.
March 7, 2019 - UEFA announced it had launched a formal investigation into alleged breaches of FFP rules by City following a series of fresh allegations in the media. City said in a statement: "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."
March 8 - The Premier League confirmed it was investigating City over alleged FFP breaches.
May 16 - UEFA's club financial control body chief investigator referred City's case to UEFA's adjudicatory chamber following the conclusion of his investigation.
June 6 - City asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport to throw out the FFP case brought against them by UEFA.
Nov 15 - City failed in their bid to get UEFA investigation kicked out.
Feb 14, 2020 - City were banned from UEFA club competitions for the next two seasons and fined £24.9m after being found to have "committed serious breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations". City announced they would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
What is Financial Fair Play (FFP)?
FFP was introduced by UEFA as an attempt to prevent clubs falling into serious financial difficulty by overspending. Clubs are expected to operate within their means and meet break-even targets, while dealings have to be transparent.
What are the rules?
Regulations, which must be adhered to by all clubs participating in UEFA competitions, were drawn up in 2009 and introduced at the start of the 2011/12 season. Clubs must balance their books over the course of three years. Income needs to be generated by the club, including for example matchday takings, TV revenue, advertising, sponsorship, player sales and prize money.
What are the punishments for breaking the rules?
There are a variety of sanctions available for non-compliance. These range from warnings and reprimands, to disqualification from a competition, exclusion from future competitions and being stripped of a title. Fines, points deductions and restrictions on the registration of players are also possible.
How could a European ban affect the club?
City have been Champions League regulars for the past decade. An absence of European football would result in a major loss of revenue. Additionally, big-name transfer targets may be deterred and choose rival clubs, while current City players desperate for European glory could question their futures.
Who would benefit from City's European expulsion?
At the moment, Sheffield United. With City on course for a top-four Premier League finish, UEFA regulations dictate their Champions League place being passed to the team which finishes fifth, a spot currently occupied by the Blades. Tottenham, Manchester United, Everton and Wolves are the main contenders just behind Chris Wilder's side.
How have City responded?
City were "disappointed but not surprised" by the findings, calling the UEFA process "flawed". Their first move is to appeal against the sanctions to CAS at the earliest opportunity.
What happens next?
The club must await the outcome of the forthcoming appeal process. The club are currently unsure how long that will take but are prepared to be patient as they fight a perceived injustice.