Uefa banned Manchester City from the Champions League for the next two seasons. They also fined City €30m for seriously misleading European football’s governing body. They broke financial fair play rules.
The severity of the ban from both of Uefa’s elite club competitions and the scale of the fine is harsh. Therefore, it reflects how seriously Uefa’s FFP compliance bodies consider the club to have breached the rules and code of conduct.
Manchester City was found guilty by Uefa’s club financial control body. They falsely inflated their sponsorship revenues. They did this during they made submissions for the FFP compliance process. The guilty finding follows an investigation sparked by the publication of “leaked” emails and documents by the German magazine Der Spiegel in November 2018.
The “leaked” emails and documents appeared to show that Man City’s owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan of the Abu Dhabi ruling family, was mostly funding the huge, £67.5m annual sponsorship of the City shirt, stadium, and academy by his country’s airline, Etihad. One of the leaked emails suggested that only £8m of that sponsorship in 2015-16 was funded directly by Etihad. The rest was coming from Mansour’s own company vehicle for the ownership of City, the Abu Dhabi United Group.
Manchester City said in a statement they were “disappointed by not surprised” by the decision They added they would appeal the ban and fine “at the earliest opportunity”. It was with the court of arbitration for sport (CAS). “The club has always anticipated the ultimate need to seek out an independent body. Also, the process to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence in support of its position,” the statement read.