The European Union of Football Association (UEFA) has decided to ban Manchester City from participating in European championships for the next two seasons due to its “gross violations” of the rules of fair financial play.
FIFA also imposed on the Premier League title holder a fine of 30 million euros.
Manchester City has the right to appeal to the Sports Arbitration Court.
The Independent Arbitration Commission of the Clubs Financial Supervision Authority said Manchester City had violated the rules of fair financial play by “exaggerating sponsorship revenue in its financial accounts and in the data it provided to UEFA between 2012 and 2016.”
What are the rules of fair financial play?
The European Football Association has passed the rules of fair financial play to prevent clubs participating in European championships from spending in excess of their financial revenues, and to eliminate what the then Union president, Michel Platini, described as “financial stimulants” within football.
Under these rules, clubs have to balance football-related expenses – player deals and wages – and their income from TV broadcast revenues, the sale of match tickets, as well as the revenues they collect from their commercial activities.
However, money spent on stadiums, training facilities, youth development, and community projects is exempt from these rules.
Specifically, clubs can spend up to five million euros more than their revenues in each of the periods in which UEFA assesses the financial performance of the clubs (three years).
However, the expenditures can exceed this level to a specific ceiling, provided that these expenses are fully covered by club owners or related parties, and this ceiling is:
• 45 million euros for the evaluation periods 2013/2014 and 2014/2015.
• 30 million euros for the evaluation periods 2015/2016, 2016/2017 and 2017/2018.
The independent refereeing committee – set up by the European Football Association specifically for this purpose – has the right to impose sanctions on clubs that violate these rules, which include denial of participation in European competitions or imposing financial penalties, denial of contracting with new players, deduction of points, or imposing Restrictions on the number of players that non-club clubs can register in European competitions.
The financial implications of not playing in the UEFA Champions League will surely be very big for Manchester City, given the huge financial rewards for the clubs participating in this competition.
Liverpool won more than 100 million pounds in bonuses after winning the championship last season, and received large sums of sponsorship rights. Moreover, the team played seven games on home field until reaching the final match, and the financial returns from each of these games amounted to another five million pounds.
So if we put all this money together, the team that wins the Champions League gets about 150 million pounds, which is a very large proportion of the income of a club like Manchester City.
Thus, the decline in financial returns of between £ 100 million and £ 150 million annually would be a very big problem for Manchester City. And if the club tries to strengthen its ranks by contracting new players in light of this financial downturn, it will violate the rules of fair financial play again, and thus will be subject to new sanctions.
Statistics show that Manchester City’s net spend on players’ contracts has reached 340 million pounds since Spanish coach Josep Guardiola took over the club in 2016, in addition to hundreds of millions of others before he came.
The fate of Guardiola and the team stars
The Spanish coach confirmed more than once that he will continue with Manchester City until the end of his contract in 2021, but at the same time he stressed his confidence on the club’s board of directors when he assured him that the club did not violate the rules of fair financial play set by the European Union.
After Guardiola managed to lead Manchester City to the Premier League title twice in a row, breaking several records, he was seeking to lead the club to obtain the Champions League title for the first time in its history. Now, after the club was denied participation in the Champions League for the next two seasons, it is assumed that the Spanish coach no longer had the same motivation and ambition.
If Guardiola succeeds in leading the club to the UEFA Champions League title, he will have achieved the primary goal he is seeking, and will search for a new experience. If he does not succeed in winning the title this season, it is difficult to wait with the team for two additional seasons without participating in the strongest championship in the old continent.
Consequently, all expectations indicate that Guardiola may leave the Al-Ittihad stadium by the end of the current season, especially in light of the interest in obtaining his services by several major clubs, led by Juventus, Italy.
And if Guardiola leaves, what is the fate of the team’s stars, most of whom joined Manchester City because he was there in the first place?
The contracts of a number of players expire before Manchester City returns to the Champions League, led by Argentine star Sergio Aguero, whose contract ends in 2021, and the same applies to German winger Leroy Sani. John Stones and Nicolas Otamende’s contract expires in the following season.
Moreover, contracts for a number of other players expire by 2022, including Kevin de Bruyne, Ederson, Bernardo Silva, Rahim Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez.
And if Guardiola goes away, it is expected that a large number of these players will leave, which will put the club in a great dilemma, because he will have to contract with new players at great prices at the same time that his financial returns are shrinking due to his exclusion from the European championships, in addition to that the players Notable world soccer fans prefer not to join a team that does not participate in the UEFA Champions League.
English Premier League
Not only are UEFA sanctions imposed on Manchester City, as the Premier League is closely watching the situation to determine what to do.
And if Manchester City violated the financial rules of the European Football Association, it is likely that he violated the rules of the English Premier League as well, because the rules set by the two associations in this regard are very similar.
And if Manchester City were found to have violated the local rules as well, it would not be unlikely to deduct a number of points from him in the seasons during which he violated the rules, which could change the ranking of clubs in the Premier League’s ranking table at the time, and the matter may even reach the club being denied the title The league is in one of the seasons, if the points opponent makes him come in second place instead of first place.
It is now unclear what will happen with regard to the qualification of English clubs for the Champions League next season if Manchester City is finally excluded. But if the UEFA decided to rely on the current method of qualifying the clubs ranked first in the Premier League table, the fifth-ranked team will qualify for the Champions League instead of Manchester City, if the team ends the season within the first four centers .
Sheffield United, fifth in the table, is only nine points from Crystal Palace, fourteen, which means that the competition will be very fierce for fifth place, which will qualify for the Champions League instead of Manchester City.