Belfast Telegraph

Threat of Euro ban clouds over City's Wembley date

By Simon Peach

Manchester City are "fully co-operating in good faith" with Uefa's ongoing investigation into alleged breaches of Financial Fair Play regulations by the club.

A New York Times report claimed investigators are seeking a one-year Champions League ban for the Premier League champions.

But City insist they are still co-operating and have questioned whether their faith in the CFCB IC (Club Financial Control Body Investigatory Chamber) has been misplaced.

A statement from the club read: "Manchester City FC is fully co-operating in good faith with the CFCB IC's (club financial control body investigatory chamber) ongoing investigation.

"In doing so the club is reliant on both the CFCB IC's independence and commitment to due process; and on Uefa's commitment of March 7 that it '...will make no further comment on the matter while the investigation is ongoing'.

"The New York Times report citing 'people familiar with the case' is therefore extremely concerning.

"The implications are that either Manchester City's good faith in the CFCB IC is misplaced or the CFCB IC process is being misrepresented by individuals intent on damaging the club's reputation and its commercial interests. Or both."

One person close to the Uefa investigation said it was unclear City would receive a ban for its conduct, with an internal meeting due tomorrow to debate the matter further. A season-long ban against Manchester City would be significant; it would be among the severest penalties to be awarded by Uefa since it introduced FFP rules in 2011 to prevent excessive spending on players.

However, some people close to European football's governing body said they have grown concerned about Uefa's ability to enforce its regulations.

In the past year, France's Paris Saint-Germain and Italy's AC Milan have avoided sanctions by launching successful legal challenges to Uefa rulings on FFP.

In 2014, Manchester City and Uefa reached a settlement over past alleged FFP breaches, with the club agreeing to pay a £49m fine and restrictions to incoming transfers to its first-team squad in European competition. 

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the billionaire businessman and member of the Abu Dhabi royal family, bought Manchester City in 2008.

He spent hundreds of millions of pounds to acquire world-class footballers in an effort to turn it into a global megaclub capable of winning the biggest prizes in England and Europe.

The club also faces investigations from other sporting bodies over its financial dealings, including the Football Association, Fifa and the Premier League.

City will attempt to wrap up an impressive domestic treble when they take on Watford in the FA Cup Final at Wembley on Saturday evening.

Pep Guardiola's side go into English football's showpiece fixture on an enormous high having successfully retained their Premier League title with a 4-1 win over Brighton on the final day that meant Liverpool were forced to accept second place at the end of a captivating title race.

Guardiola, meanwhile, was named the Premier League manager of the year at the League Managers' Association awards last night, topping the vote ahead of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino and Nuno Espirito Santo of Wolves.

• Slovenia's Damir Skomina will referee the all-English Champions League final between Tottenham and Liverpool.

The 42-year-old awarded Manchester United a controversial late penalty in their last-16 victory over PSG in March.

PSG forward Neymar was later given a three-match ban after he called the decision "a disgrace" on social media.

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