COVID-19 pandemic could see Man City’s Champions League ban postponed

Pep Guardiola

Speculation stemming from the European media suggests that Manchester City’s ban from next season’s Champions League could be pushed back, due to the uncertainty surrounding football on the back of the COVID-19 outbreak.

City made an example of

The bombshell announcement regarding City’s punishment arrived last month.

First, a number of highly-reliable sources confirmed that the Premier League champions had been slapped with a 2-season Champions League ban, and hit with a £25 million fine.

This was swiftly followed by a statement on the part of Uefa, which read:

‘The Adjudicatory Chamber, having considered all the evidence, has found that Manchester City committed serious breaches of the Uefa 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.’

‘The Adjudicatory Chamber has also found that in breach of the regulations the club failed to cooperate in the investigation of this case by the CFCB.’

The decision on the part of European football’s governing body came on the back of an in-depth investigation into Manchester City’s financial situation.

This investigation was reportedly sparked by Der Spiegel in November of 2018, after the German publication highlighted the fact that the Sky Blues had falsely inflated the club’s revenue gained through sponsorship, in a bid to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations.

KHARKOV, UKRAINE – SEPTEMBER 18: Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s first goal during the UEFA Champions League group C match between Shakhtar Donetsk and Manchester City at Metalist Stadium on September 18, 2019 in Kharkov, Ukraine. (Photo by Matt McNulty – Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

City’s ban pushed back?

As such, the widespread assumption had since been that City may see their ban reduced from two years to one, but would still likely be forced to sit out next season’s Champions League.

If the latest speculation is to be believed, though, then Pep Guardiola’s men could yet feature in Europe in the 2020/21 campaign.

The Citizens have already launched an appeal against UEFA’s sanction to the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport).

However, as things stand, this process is still in its infancy.

The COVID-19 pandemic, meanwhile, has of course brought football around the globe to a standstill.

As a result, there is a strong chance that a final decision on City’s appeal will not be reached before August.

And, as per Spanish outlet Diario AS (as cited by Sports Illustrated), if this does prove to be the case, then it is viewed as extremely unlikely that the Premier League champions will be denied entry into next season’s Champions League group stages.

Instead, their ban would be suspended.

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