February 14, 2020

Man City Banned from Champions League for Financial Breaches: UEFA has banned Manchester City for two years from the Champions League and other international tournaments for "serious breaches" of financial rules. The Blues can't play in the 2020/21 and 2021/22 Champions League. This opens a spot for the fifth place Premier League team to qualify (currently Sheffield United).

posted by rcade to soccer at 02:44 PM - 8 comments

Oh so sad for them. But I expect at least some reduction on appeal and any appeal would push the start of the ban out a season.

posted by billsaysthis at 05:22 PM on February 14, 2020

and according to UEFA City overstated sponsorship revenue in accounts submitted between 2012 and 2016.

I don't understand what makes this a two year ban. Can someone explain the why of this?

posted by tron7 at 11:16 AM on February 17, 2020

They supplied false data in their own filings, if I had to guess.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:30 AM on February 17, 2020

But why would they do that? What makes that important?

posted by tron7 at 12:44 PM on February 17, 2020

I am guessing these rulings are coming the Financial Fair Play rules. These rules came into places after some historic clubs went bankrupt trying to make or stay in top flight football. I have never looked into the details, but like salary caps in the US, when and how a team reports revenue and expenses can effect the players they sign.

posted by prof at 04:27 PM on February 17, 2020

In this case, what Man City did was claim that the exorbitant money they received from their shirt sponsorship was all coming from the Emirates airline company, and could thus be counted as revenue. Financial Fair Play rules essentially require you to maintain a reasonable overall profitability, so if your expenditures are very high then your revenues have to be very high to compensate and not create a culture where you're just using your owner's deep pockets to buy a championship.

Except that's what City did, because it turns out that the bulk of the shirt sponsorship money was being paid by the club's owner out of his own pocket, instead of Emirates (which he also owns). There may be some more nuance to in the details, but my understanding is this essentially was the scam which UEFA have charged them for.

I think this is good, and I hope that City fail to get their punishment reduced (but I'm not holding my breath). In this case, any cash penalty would be meaningless. But banning the club from the Champions League not only punishes them financially, it also punishes them competitively. Unlike WADA and their attempts to punish nations for orchestrated doping, this punishment has real teeth that might actually cause other big clubs to take notice and to observe the FFP rules

posted by geneparmesan at 07:02 PM on February 17, 2020

I too am happy with the punishment. Lately teams have been punished by being excluded from the player transfer market. This allows players who want to play for a team playing in UEFA to transfer.

posted by prof at 09:56 AM on February 18, 2020

So the closest American sports equivalent is probably the Joe Smith Timberwolves scandal. The Timberwolves lost 5 (!) first round picks (which was later reduced to four) for circumventing salary cap rules. I didn't remember that punishment being so harsh. Still, being barred from Champions League play seems like an extreme punishment to me. Not that I'm sad about it, I really can't stand Man City.

posted by tron7 at 12:20 PM on February 18, 2020

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