English club, Manchester City has been banned by European football governing body, UEFA, for two years and hit with a £25m fine.
ManCity, coached by Pep Guardiola and owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the Abu Dhabi ruling family, were found guilty by Uefa’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) of falsely inflating their sponsorship revenues to make it look like the club was making more money than it was spending on player purchase, when submitting financial accounts as part of the Financial Fair Play (FFP) compliance process.
FFP was formed by UEFA to prevent European clubs from spending more money than they make as income.
With FFP, European clubs stopped overspending on player wages, restricting the amount owners are able to use of their own cash to cover losses.
With this new ban, Man City will now be suspended from any UEFA European competition for the next two seasons.
Man City have announced that they will appeal the case with the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).
The verdict passed by FIFA follows an investigation that after German magazine Der Spiegel “leaked” emails and documents in November 2018 alleging Man City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan was mostly funding the £67.5m-a-year sponsorship of the club’s shirts, stadium and academy via Etihad airline.
A statement from the club on Friday said: “Manchester City is disappointed but not surprised by today’s announcement by the UEFA Adjudicatory Chamber. The Club has always anticipated the ultimate need to seek out an independent body and process to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence in support of its position.
“In December 2018, the UEFA Chief Investigator publicly previewed the outcome and sanction he intended to be delivered to Manchester City, before any investigation had even begun. The subsequent flawed and consistently leaked UEFA process he oversaw has meant that there was little doubt in the result that he would deliver. The Club has formally complained to the UEFA Disciplinary body, a complaint which was validated by a CAS ruling.
“Simply put, this is a case initiated by UEFA, prosecuted by UEFA and judged by UEFA. With this prejudicial process now over, the Club will pursue an impartial judgment as quickly as possible and will therefore, in the first instance, commence proceedings with the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the earliest opportunity.”