Manchester City could face ‘heaviest punishment’ of Champions League ban for alleged manipulation of £59.5m sponsorship money
- UEFA and the Premier League are investigating emails about sponsorship money
- The documents published by Der Spiegel appear to be a breach of FFP
- Yves Leterme believes Manchester City could face ‘the heaviest punishment’
Manchester City could face ‘the heaviest punishment’ from UEFA over alleged manipulation of sponsorship money.
That is according to Yves Leterme, the head of UEFA’s independent Club Financial Control Body, as UEFA and the Premier League investigate leaked emails.
The emails appeared to show £59.5million of sponsorship money, which was supposed to come from Etihad airline in 2015, was paid instead by their owners Abu Dhabi United Group.
Manchester City could face ‘the heaviest punishment’ from UEFA according to Yves Leterme
Leterme told the Belgian magazine Sport and Strategy: ‘If it is true what has been written, there might be a serious problem. This can lead to the heaviest punishment: exclusion from the UEFA competitions.
‘If the information is correct, this possibly goes against truthful reporting. The financial fair play rules are based on a system of declaration, three months after the clubs have closed their accounts, they have to deposit their figures.
‘Then we do random checks on the truthfulness of those figures. The accounts are examined and approved internally and externally. ‘
The alleged manipulation, published by the German magazine, Der Spiegel, from the Football Leaks cache of documents, would appear to be a breach of financial fair play rules.
A ban from the Champions League would be a disaster for the club and its star players
They claim that City’s holding company paid £59.5m of Etihad’s annual sponsorship deal, with only £8m coming from the airline.
City’s response to the allegations has been: ‘We will not be providing any comment on out-of-context materials purportedly hacked or stolen from City Football Group and Manchester City personnel and associated people. The attempt to damage the club’s reputation is organised and clear.’
UEFA have shown they are not afraid to act against the big clubs over FFP breaches.
City were fined £49m and had their squad capped for failing FFP rules four years ago.
PSG too are being investigated by UEFA over their acquisition of two players for huge sums – £200m for Neymar and £166m for Kylian Mbappe.
PSG are another club feeling the heat over FFP after their signing of Kylian Mbappe
The club could be forced to sell one or both of the players next summer to meet FFP rules – or the stiffest punishment would be exclusion from the Champions League.
AC Milan, meanwhile, have been told they must break even by June 2021 or face being banned from European competition for two years.
Milan had been found to be in breach of the break-even requirements of the FFP regulations, and a recent ruling leaves the club at risk of sitting out European competition in 2022-23 and 2023-24 should they qualify.
Milan successfully appealed against a two-year ban being immediately imposed last summer, with the Court of Arbitration for Sport referring the matter back to UEFA to impose a ‘proportionate disciplinary measure’.