Champions League

Manchester City banned from UEFA Champions League: Details and Consequences

Manchester City have been handed a 2-year ban from the Champions League by UEFA over violations in Financial Fail Play (FFP). The club will have an option to appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the same. UEFA in their official statement said, “The Adjudicatory Chamber has imposed disciplinary measures on Manchester City Football Club directing it shall be excluded from participation in UEFA club competitions in the next two seasons and pay a fine of €30 million.”

Manchester City Ban Explained

The Adjudicatory Chamber of UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) found Manchester City guilty of falsely inflating their sponsorship revenues when they made submissions for the FFP compliance process. The investigation started by German magazine Der Spiegel in November 2018 brought certain ‘leaked emails’ to light. Assessments thereafter finally convinced CFCB to find City guilty.   

Der Spiegel’s mails and other investigative findings showed the owner funding the footballing empire through his country’s airline, Etihad Airways. One of the leaked emails suggested that Etihad had funded only £8m of that sponsorship in 2015-16 while the rest was coming from Mansour’s own company vehicle for the ownership of City, the Abu Dhabi United Group. The entire financial breach covers the huge, £67.5m annual sponsorship of the City shirt, stadium and academy included. To keep it simple, the club had dark clouds hovering over them for a long time. The decision, however, will lead to some serious changes at Etihad (we mean the stadium and the club!)

Pep out?

Coming to changes, Pep Guardiola has been quite successful in the League in his 4-year stay here. He has won 7 trophies here, including 2 Super Cups and has a remarkable win percentage of 74%. But 1 trophy has not come to him after he left Camp Nou- the Champions League. While Pep has impressed his previous employers with his tactics, there is one significant difference between his present stay at Etihad and his previous 2 clubs Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona- the spending. I agree the Spaniard’s spent even there, but not even half as much! At Bayern, he spent almost £200m, while at Barcelona it was £315m.

At Manchester City, however, his spending stands to be at a whopping £703.4m -about £200m more than the combined spending at both of his previous clubs. For a moment, let’s keep league success aside and have a look at European Success. Pep won 2 Champions League titles at Camp Nou. After he left Barcelona for Bayern, the Bavarians played UCL semi-finals all the 3 times he was the dugout. At City though, he has been for 3 complete seasons now, and the maximum they could advance was the quarter-finals of the tournament. If we look at the money spent and European success tangibly, the return of investment in the case of Manchester City is just unflattering!

It’s clear he’s desperate to win in Europe, but blatant spending of money is just not working for Guardiola here. He has even hinted his shaky position as a manager before their match against Madrid. With the ban being an additional major obtrusion to the club, the exit door seems to creak open not just for the manager, but even for some players if no silver lining appears soon.

Ehhm…just Pep?

The Euro starting next month and the World Cup 2 years later- if exposure and experience is something players need before major tournaments- European football IS the answer! Sterling has been a fantastic lad for City. But lack of Championship football in Europe may worry Southgate later on before 2022. So is the case of Laporte, who has been in the storm of recruitment dilemma for a long time now. Above all, Allison and Ederson for Brazil- another competition; the latter missing out of UCL will be his loss finally.

Kevin De Bruyne, however, is a player I feel should stay. The Belgian has grown into a leader here. A lot of European giants may look desperate to sign him though – Real Madrid and Barcelona the naturally interested parties. If at all KDB decides to leave, Barcelona should definitely not be his target. The Catalan Giants are a sad example of how failed transfers breed doubts in players. Coutinho, Malcolm, Dembele, Umtiti-let’s face it, it’s a sad list and a club with unreliable futures of good players. Madrid, however, seems to be in dire need of a midfield masterpiece. Modric is 33 now. Los Blancos needs someone to pair with Kroos and Casemiro to hold the midfield well. While Kevin’s stay at Etihad is much expected, if he moves, his next destination will be interesting!

What Next?     

Manchester City has replied to the ban saying they are “disappointed but not surprised” by the decision. “The Club has always anticipated the ultimate need to seek out an independent body and process to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence in support of its position”, their official statement read. City added they would appeal the ban and fine “at the earliest opportunity” with the court of arbitration for sport (CAS).

Manchester City banned from UEFA Champions League: Details and Consequences
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