UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin insists it would “not be a problem” if Manchester City won the Champions League this year.
Ceferin says the Premier League champions are still an “asset” to the European game despite their upcoming ban from continental competition.
City have been excluded from the Champions League for the next two years by UEFA after being found guilty of breaching the European governing body’s Financial Fair Play regulations.
City have vehemently denied wrongdoing and are appealing against the judgement to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
With City still involved in the Champions League this season – they lead Real Madrid 2-1 after the first leg of their last-16 tie – they could potentially embarrass UEFA by winning the competition while the case is ongoing.
Ceferin, however, denies this would be the case.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, Ceferin said: “First of all, before Court of Arbitration for Sport decides, we shouldn’t comment on that.
“But whoever wins Champions League, it’s good. Any club wins, I like it. It’s not a problem. I would like to see a fantastic final in Istanbul. That’s all I care.”
Ceferin says he still has respect for City.
He said: “They are our asset, I respect them, they are our club. I don’t want to say that ‘now we don’t like Manchester City’. We like them, they are our club. But this process is a separate thing, that I don’t interfere.”
The case could lead to a fierce legal battle between UEFA and City, who are financed by their billionaire owner Sheikh Mansour. City are also strongly supported by a Chinese state-backed investment firm and an American private equity company.
They are our asset, I respect them, they are our club.Aleksander Ceferin
Asked if UEFA was “up” for this, Ceferin said: “We are not fighting anybody. We professionally defend our position.
“I don’t like that we speak about Manchester City only. We punished five to 10 clubs per season. It’s a regular procedure. Let’s see.”
Ceferin believes it is unlikely the issue could be resolved out of court.
He said: “I doubt but, again, I don’t want to comment. I don’t want to comment but I doubt it’s possible.”
FFP, with its break-even clause, has been criticised in some quarters because it prevents direct investment in clubs by owners such as that at City from Sheikh Mansour.
Ceferin admits mistakes may have been made in its implementation and changes could be made, but he defends the concept.
He said: “It was established to stop the losses in European football and it was successful. But in the future, I think we will have to adapt it, will have to change some things.
“I don’t know if mistakes have been made. Probably, yes, everywhere, mistakes have been made.
“It’s not that we are changing something because it’s not working but, for competitive balance, probably we would need more and different measures.”