Manchester City have been banned from UEFA club competitions for the next two seasons and fined 30million euros (£24.9million) after being found to have committed “serious breaches” of financial regulations.
The reigning Premier League champions overstated sponsorship revenue in accounts submitted between 2012 and 2016, according to European football’s governing body.
The decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) is subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
“The Adjudicatory Chamber, having considered all the evidence, has found that Manchester City Football Club committed serious breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations by overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016,” read a UEFA statement.
“The Adjudicatory Chamber has imposed disciplinary measures on Manchester City Football Club directing that it shall be excluded from participation in UEFA club competitions in the next two seasons (ie: the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons) and pay a fine of 30 million euros.”
City said they are “disappointed but not surprised” by UEFA’s announcement and will appeal against the punishment to CAS.
“Manchester City is disappointed but not surprised by today’s announcement by the UEFA Adjudicatory Chamber,” read a club statement.
“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.
“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 judgement as quickly as possible and will therefore, in the first instance, commence proceedings with the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the earliest opportunity.”
City have been drawn to face Real Madrid in the last-16 of this season’s Champions League, with the first leg of that tie set to be played on February 26 at the Bernabeu.
In the absence of a successful appeal, Pep Guardiola’s side would be unable to compete in the competition until the 2022/23 campaign.
Findings published by UEFA also state that the club “failed to cooperate in the investigation of this case by the CFCB”.
If City’s appeal is unsuccessful and they finish in the top four of the Premier League this season, the team which finishes in fifth position will replace them in next season’s Champions League.
Sheffield United occupy fifth spot going into the weekend, with Tottenham, Everton, Manchester United, and Wolves also currently well placed.
“A club which is not admitted to the competition is replaced by the next best-placed club in the top domestic championship of the same association, provided the club fulfils the admission criteria,” reads clause 4.08 of UEFA’s Champions League regulations.
Financial Fair Play (FFP) was introduced by UEFA as an attempt to prevent clubs getting into serious financial difficulty by overspending.
Regulations, which must be adhered to by all clubs participating in UEFA competitions, were drawn up in 2009 and introduced at the start of the 2011-12 season, with clubs required to balance their books over the course of three years.
After previously being punished in 2014, City accepted a settlement that included a £49million fine, a £49million limit on transfer spending for the current season and a 21-man limit on Champions League squad size, instead of the usual 25.
UEFA opened a fresh investigation into City following a series of new allegations about the club in the media, led by German magazine Der Spiegel.
It was alleged that City’s breaches of FFP around the same period ran much deeper than UEFA realised at the time of the 2014 settlement.