January 7 – UEFA’s chief financial investigator has confirmed that reigning Premier League champions Manchester City could be kicked out Europe if alleged irregularities exposed in the Football Leaks scandal prove to be true.
According to a number of media organisations, based on comments by Yves Leterme, City could be facing the “heaviest punishment”
City were among a handful of teams targeted in media leaks towards the back end of last year, including other European heavyweights Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain.
It was claimed that City inflated sponsorship revenues to meet FFP requirements – described as “financial doping” by La Liga boss Javier Tebas.
Investigators are still sifting through all the material published by Germany’s Der Spiegel and other publications but Leterme has already claimed that City could be banned if they’ve breached the regulations.
“If it is true what has been written, there might be a serious problem,” Leterme was quoted as telling a Belgian media group. “This can lead to the heaviest punishment: exclusion from the UEFA competitions.”
With the Champions League the one trophy which has alluded Manchester City since their takeover by billionaire Abu Dhabi investors, fans will be desperate that their club hasn’t broken any rules.
One of the allegations is that money received by Manchester City disguised as sponsorship payments was in fact pumped in by the Abu Dhabi United Group which owns the club, outlawed under Financial Fair Play rules.
Already back in 2014, City were handed a £49 million fine for circumventing FFP regulations but were given back £33.4 million of that three years later after meeting the requirements of the sanctions initially imposed on them. Gianni Infantino, the FIFA president, was alleged late last year to have struck a deal with the club when he was at UEFA which meant they avoided a Champions League ban.
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