Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

How Club Might Be Affected If UEFA Decide to Go after Them

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

How Club Might Be Affected If UEFA Decide to Go after Them

Article excerpt

Byline: James Robson in Manchester

AS Manchester City brace themselves for UEFA charges regarding alleged breaches of Financial Fair Play, Standard Sport considers the potential ramifications of a Champions League ban.

What is FFP? Financial Fair Play is, according to UEFA, about "improving the overall financial health of club football". European football's governing body devised the system with the intention of ensuring clubs were sustainable and avoided irresponsible ownership and overspending.

What are the allegations? City have been accused of misleading UEFA over their finances, including artificially inflating sponsorships to avoid FFP penalties. A series of damaging reports by German magazine Der Spiegel claimed to detail complex strategies employed by City to disguise the level of investment from owner Sheikh Mansour. Based on leaked documents and emails obtained by the whistleblower Football Leaks, it is alleged a PS67.5million deal with Etihad included PS59.5m-worth of investment from the Mansour-owned Abu Dhabi United Group. Other allegations detailed a secret project dubbed 'Longbow', which involved selling off image rights to a company claimed to be funded by the same group. One potentially damning email from City's chief financial officer, Jorge Chumillas, is claimed to declare the need for PS9.9m of AD (believed to be Abu Dhabi) sponsorship to pay off sacked manager Roberto Mancini "in order to comply with UEFA FFP".

What are the potential punishments? UEFA have wide-ranging penalties for FFP breaches. Most severe would be a Champions League ban and it has been claimed this week that investigators will push for expulsion. City were hit with a PS49m fine, transfer cap and a reduced Champions League squad when found in breach of FFP in 2014. Less punitive action is the possibility of a 'rehabilitative approach' in which City would be offered a 'roadmap' to reach break-even. …

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