Manchester City ban: How the newspapers reacted to City's Champions League punishment
Man City expelled from European football for two seasons
Last Updated: 15/02/20 3:59pm
After the bombshell announcement of Manchester City's Champions League ban, how did the Saturday papers react to the news?
One of the biggest stories of the season broke on Friday evening, with UEFA announcing City - the two-time reigning Premier League champions - would be excluded from qualifying for any of Europe's continental competitions until 2022.
Unsurprisingly, it led all of the national newspapers' back pages on Saturday morning, and here's what they had to say...
The Times - 'Banned'
The Times reported the ban could be "just the start of City's nightmare", referring to a potential Premier League points deduction if they are found guilty of flouting FFP rules domestically too - and the potential departure of Pep Guardiola.
They said: "The ban, and the threat of further action from the Premier League, casts doubts over the long-term future of Pep Guardiola as manager, and the club's ability to secure their top transfer targets."
An opinion piece from Henry Winter adds: "The cost to City will be huge, far more than the €30m (£25m) fine, more than the failure to amass €100m Champions League revenues in future seasons, as last year. The damage includes the possible loss of some of the best footballing talent on the planet."
The Sun - 'See EU in court'
The Sun led on "furious" Manchester City's decision to take their fight to the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS), based in Switzerland, which has adjudicated on some of the continent's biggest sporting issues - including Chelsea's recent transfer ban - for nearly 40 years.
"Furious Manchester City vowed to take UEFA to court after they were sensationally booted out of the Champions League for the next two seasons," they wrote.
"If the judgement by CAS goes against City, they could take the case to the European Court."
Daily Mirror - 'Valentine's Day Massacre'
The Mirror's hard-hitting headline focused on City's already-announced appeal with "independent legal action" due to follow through CAS.
They also featured an editorial from chief football writer John Cross which said the ban was a "long time coming" for the club.
"UEFA, European football's governing body, have had enough and feel the only way to hurt mega-rich City is to kick them out of the Champions League," he wrote.
"They have tried warnings, fines and settlements in the past but to take them off football's greatest stage is the only way to show they really mean business when it comes to Financial Fair Play. Fines mean nothing because even tens of millions are a mere drop in the ocean to City's mega-wealthy owners."
Daily Star - 'Ban City'
The Daily Star focused on the question of Pep Guardiola's future after the surprise announcement, after he had previously said he was confident the club would avoid a Champions League ban.
"Manchester City face a battle to keep boss Pep Guardiola after being banned from Europe for two seasons for breaching Financial Fair Play rules," they wrote.
"The punishment means that after this season, City will not be able to compete in the Champions League, club football's biggest competition, until 2022. And it is sure to make Guardiola, who has won the Champions League twice, consider his future at the Etihad."
The Daily Telegraph - 'Banned'
The Telegraph said Guardiola would consider his future at the end of the season on the back of an already disappointing campaign for City, compounded by yesterday's decision from UEFA - and revealed the next step the club was taking alongside its players after the announcement.
"Pep Guardiola will consider his future as manager in the summer, The Daily Telegraph understands, unless the club are able to overturn a verdict which condemns "serious breaches" in payments by executives. The Premier League champions announced immediate plans to appeal last night after being left reeling by the punishment, which is to come into effect next season," he said.
"The City players, many of whom were returning from their winter break last night, are set to attend crisis talks with chief executive officer Ferran Soriano today."
Daily Mail - 'City Banned'
The Daily Mail was another to suggest Manchester City may be docked Premier League points after UEFA had found them in breach with FFP, but said the domestic body may wait until it makes any move.
They said: "The Premier League may well decide to wait for the outcome of an appeal City have vowed to launch before deciding whether to take action of their own.
"Questions may also be raised over the future of manager Pep Guardiola, his players and potential signings. Sportsmail understands that yesterday afternoon club officials contacted Guardiola and his players individually to make them aware of the coming announcement.
"City say they will appeal against the decision at the earliest opportunity via the Court of Arbitration for Sport. They accused UEFA of 'initiating, prosecuting and judging' the case and say they are not surprised at the outcome."
The Guardian - 'Banned'
The Guardian's double-page spread on City's ban went into detail about the allegations originally unveiled in German newspaper Der Spiegel after being "leaked" by the Football Leaks website - publication of which led to UEFA's investigation which concluded on Friday.
"Now, after a review of the evidence and a hearing last month, UEFA's Adjudication Chamber has decided like the Investigations Chamber, that City's hierarchy have been damned by their own internal material," they wrote.
"For all the fury and belligerence of their response, the club have not explained away the impression and apparent evidence that they deceived European football's governing body with their financial submissions, even while they were spending huge money to star in its glittering competition."