The day will go down in the halls of Manchester City Football Club’s history as the Valentine’s Day Massacre.

On February 14th, Europe’s football governing body, UEFA, laid down both a verdict and a sentence to the club that few were expecting.

UEFA banned the Cityzens from Champions and Europa League football competition for the next two years starting in 2020-21.

They also fined the club 30 million euros for their trouble. This was a rather stiff punishment under the Financial Fair Play (FFP) guidelines, which were enacted in 2011.

UEFA issued the following statement:

“The Adjudicatory Chamber, having considered all the evidence, has found that Manchester City Football Club committed serious breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations by overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016.

The Adjudicatory Chamber has also found that in breach of the regulations the Club failed to cooperate in the investigation of this case by the CFCB.

The Adjudicatory Chamber has imposed disciplinary measures on Manchester City Football Club directing that it shall be excluded from participation in UEFA club competitions in the next two seasons (ie. the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons) and pay a fine of € 30 million.

The decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber is subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). If Manchester City Football Club exercises that right the full reasoned decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber will not be published prior to publication of the final award by the CAS.”

Financial Fair Play (FFP)

Financial Fair Play (FFP) was created in order to place limitations on football clubs and their owners on how they spend money on building and maintaining their clubs.

Its inherent design was to keep rich owners from spending their clubs into possible financial Armageddon through overspending beyond their means.

The other purpose of FFP was to keep teams from doing what Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have been allegedly attempting to do that is buying trophies.

Major Punishment

City is owned by an investment vehicle of Abu Dhabi royal Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al- Nahyan.

Der Spiegel alleges that investment violated FFP regulations as it was disguised as sponsorship from Etihad Airways, the flag carrier of the Emirate.

Etihad is the club’s shirt sponsor, and also has naming rights for its stadium.

The club 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.

Whistleblower

Der Spiegel’s investigation relied on documents provided to it by Football Leaks as a whistleblower organization which obtained 70 million confidential and, in some cases, highly sensitive documents.

Rui Pinto, the leaker at the heart of Der Spiegel’s investigation, is to be extradited from Hungary to his native Portugal, according to reports, where he faces cybercrime charges relating to the hacking of emails from Benfica, Sporting Lisbon, and Porto, three leading Portuguese clubs.

What about the players?

The veteran midfielder David Silva will be leaving at the end of the season. But the number of players whose contracts are due to expire before City will return to the Champions League is a concern.

Striker Sergio Aguero is at the top of that list. His deal expires in 2021. Leroy Sane’s deal ends at the same time. John Stones’ expires a year later. The same is also true of Nicolas Otamendi.

And what about the star players who are under contract beyond 2022, such as Kevin de Bruyne, Ederson, Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez?

If Guardiola left, it is easy to see a number of players following suit, which could leave City with a massive rebuilding exercise

What about pep?

City manager Pep Guardiola has responded to questions about his future by stating that his intention to see out his contract with the Blues, which does not expire until 2021.

But after this ban taking place, it could be the end of Guardiola. After winning back-to-back Premier League titles and making the team win all three domestic trophies in a single season.

Now his first priority is to win champions league with this team which however is not possible if man city is banned to play in the champions league

Recurring Allegations

City was punished in 2014 for FFP violations. At the time the club said it would accept punishments including a fine of €60 million ($67 million) but a restriction on transfer spending and a reduction in the club’s squad size for the European Champions League.

Manchester City leaped to prominence on the back of massive investments, signing top players and announcing lucrative sponsorship deals with companies closely linked to its owner.

Abu Dhabi royal Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who owns the Abu Dhabi United Group.

In 2015, China Media Group acquired a 13% stake in City Football Group, the parent company of the Manchester team, for $400 million.

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