Manchester City had been under investigation after German magazine Der Spiegel published leaked emails that appeared to show that the club's massive £67.5m annual sponsorship deal with Etihad was mostly funded by City’s owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the Abu Dhabi ruling family. The document appeared to show that in the 2015/16 season Etihad airlines contributed only £8m, less than an eighth of the total cost of the deal.
The punishment comes as a huge blow to Manchester City, who have coveted the Champions League for a number of years
The punishment comes as a huge blow to Manchester City, who have coveted the Champions League for a number of years. It also brings uncertainty to the future of head coach Pep Guardiola, who is out of contract at the end of next season and is keen to add to the two Champions League trophies he won at Barcelona. City are also likely to be hurt in the transfer market, the €30 million fine will put a big hole in City’s finances and the club will also lose tens of millions in Champions League revenue.
Manchester City, who have described themselves as “disappointed but not surprised”, have confirmed that they will appeal against the ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. In a club statement they branded the investigation as “flawed” and described it as “initiated by UEFA, prosecuted by UEFA and judged by UEFA”.
Manchester City describe themselves as "disappointed but not surprised"
If the decision is upheld the main beneficiaries may well be Liverpool and Sheffield United. Manchester City have been seen as the only club capable of challenging a superb Liverpool side, and the red half of Merseyside will hope that a fire sale will occur at City, making a spell of dominance for the reds a distinct possibility. The news will also delight fans of Sheffield United. The club, who have experienced a fairytale season under Chris Wilder, sit in fifth, a position that may secure Champions League football if Manchester are barred from entry to European competitions.
Other clubs, including AC Milan, have previously been handed bans from European competitions, but Manchester City are by far the biggest club to have been given one. The ban shows UEFA to be taking a strong stance on Financial Fair Play and, if the punishment is upheld, will provide a strong deterrent to other clubs around Europe, showing financial irregularities to carry serious consequences.