European football’s governing body, UEFA, is investigating financial fair play (FFP) violations by Manchester City.
The investigation puts City’s Champions League eligibility into question.
In a statement, UEFA said:
“The investigation will focus on several alleged violations of FFP that were recently made public in various media outlets.”
German publication Der Spiegel reported that the independent Football Leaks investigative project uncovered club documents revealing City inflated sponsor fees. CNN reportedthat City, “also allegedly concealed a player investment fund, which would allow the club to hold equity in promising players — so-called “third-party ownership (TPO), something banned by UEFA and the Premier League — by using a company in the Cayman Islands, the newspaper reported.”
Premier League Investigating Too…
The Premier League has also issued a statement regarding City’s alleged FPP violations:
Breaking: Premier League issue statement on Manchester City. Confirms investigation underway. pic.twitter.com/i5HBIGIV8c
— Richard Conway (@richard_conway) March 8, 2019
How Could City be Punished?
This isn’t City’s first brush with FFP allegations. They faced controversy in 2012 around the naming rights of Etihad Stadium. Despite the likely impropriety of the deal and there wasn’t exactly a second bidder, City consulted UEFA before the deal was made, and UEFA didn’t investigate it further.
City are also under FA investigation for an alleged £200,000 payment to the agent of Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho when the he was just 14.
Regardless, it’s HIGHLY unlikely the Premier League deduct points from City this year (sorry Liverpool fans) or strip them of past titles.
UEFA could certainly impose a Champions League ban on City and levy a fine against them.
Ultimately, the fine wouldn’t hurt. That’s pocket change for Sheikh Mansour / Abu Dhabi United Group / City. A Champions League ban though? That would leave a mark.
We’re sure a lot more will come of this in the coming weeks and months. Grab your popcorn.