Manchester City could face a ban from next season’s Champions League over alleged deceptions of Uefa’s financial rules revealed in the Football Leaks scandal.
European football’s governing body believes a potential transfer embargo is not a sufficient punishment for the Premier League champions if an independent inquiry into Financial Fair Play rules against the club in the coming days.
The Telegraph reports that senior Uefa officials – who previously launched sanctions against City in 2014 – are particularly enraged by leaked files from 2015, which claim almost £60 million was paid directly into the club by their billionaire Arab owners but declared as sponsorship.
Aleksander Ceferin, the Uefa president, appeared to indicate the allegations of FFP breaches were a “concrete case”. The documents, allegedly obtained by illegal email hacks, are said to show £59.5 million that was supposed to have come from City’s principal sponsor Etihad Airways – which sponsors the club’s stadium, shirts and training ground – was paid directly to the club by the Abu Dhabi United Group. To put that into context, City’s record signing is Riyad Mahrez, who cost £60 million from Leicester City last season.
Ceferin, speaking after a meeting of Uefa executives, said: “We are assessing the situation. We have an independent body working on it. Very soon we will have the answers on what will happen in this concrete case.”
According to a report in German magazine Der Spiegel last month, City breached FFP rules by €188 million (£167 million) in 2014.