Pep Guardiola and Raheem Sterling planning Manchester City stay despite UEFA ban

City CEO Ferran Soriano tells squad after two-year UEFA ban: "Trust me like I trust you, this will be dropped"

Pep Guardiola gives Raheem Sterling some instructions during Manchester City's 2-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb
Image: Pep Guardiola and Raheem Sterling are planning to stay at Man City

Pep Guardiola has told Manchester City players he is committed to the club, saying: "Even if they put us in League Two, I will still be here."

Raheem Sterling is also committed to City despite UEFA handing the club a two-year suspension from European competition for Financial Fair Play rule breaches, a ruling the club are appealing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Since Friday's ruling, there has been speculation Guardiola could choose to walk away from City.

However, the Catalan has told City players: "Look, whatever league we are in, I will still be here.

"Even if they put us in League Two, I will still be here. This is a time for sticking together."

Guardiola's deal expires at the end of the 2020/21 season and he has no intention of cutting it short. The 49-year-old has never broken a contract as a manager.

Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring from the penalty spot for Manchester City against Wolves
Image: Sterling has 20 goals in 35 games for City this season

As well as Guardiola, Sterling is also understood to be totally committed to City and will not push for a move, despite the absence of European football.

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The 25-year-old and his team-mates are believed to be focusing on finishing the season strongly - particularly in the Champions League, given it could be their last season in the competition for two years.

City CEO Soriano: 'This will be dropped'

Sterling and the rest of City's players are leaving the handling of the UEFA ban to the club's hierarchy.

City CEO Ferran Soriano told the squad: "Trust me like I trust you, this will be dropped."

One person close to City players has told Sky Sports News that the players are only interested in playing football: "No one is going to kick up a fuss or rock the boat until the full facts come out."

Another source says the players still have faith in the people running the club: "Since this all started, they've all been told that City have done nothing wrong.

"That's still the message, so nothing's changed"

UEFA say City "overstated its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016".

Manchester City club crest 0:24
Manchester City supporters give their reaction to the club's two-year ban from European competition

European football's governing body also say City were guilty of "failing to cooperate in the investigation by the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB)".

City responded by saying they were "disappointed but not surprised" and described the process as "prejudicial".

They have also stated their intention to appeal the punishment with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Analysis: What next for City?

Sky Sports reporter Kaveh Solhekol...

'I think Manchester City have a good chance of overturning the ban. They are going to CAS, and they said in their statement that they're going to CAS 'in the first instance', which would seem to suggest that even if they lose at CAS, they are going to carry on by going to other courts. They could go to the Swiss Federal Supreme Court. What we've got to bear in mind is that City are richer than UEFA. They can afford to have better lawyers than UEFA.'

Plus:

  • Will Guardiola and key players leave?
  • Will the 2013/14 title be taken away?
  • What would be the worst-case scenario?
  • When will the appeal take place and a verdict made?
  • How much could the ban cost City financially?
  • And what will happen to the Portuguese hacker Rui Pinto?

Read Kaveh's analysis in full here

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