Man City’s Champions League ban threat
Two days after Man City were crowned Premier League champions, the Sky Blues are in the headlines for the wrong reasons.
It’s been common knowledge for a while that Man City are being investigated by UEFA for potential breaches of the Financial Fair Play rules.
One of the main accusations leveled at Man City is that they received a £59.5 million sponsorship payment from the club’s owners, the Abu Dhabi United Group, rather than Etihad Airways.
To be clear, Man City are being accused of intentionally circumventing FFP rules. City are accused of wrapping up investments in the club as sponsorship deals rather than cash injections from the club’s owners.
So are Man City guilty of the charges?
This Tuesday the Sky Blues are edging closer to being found guilty. As reported in the Times:
Members of the financial control body, which is led by the former Belgium prime minister Yves Leterme, met in Nyon two weeks ago to finalise the conclusions that they will put forward to Uefa’s adjudicatory chamber, which will decide on the sanction in the coming weeks.
A report in the New York Times yesterday said that their recommendation would be a Champions League ban of at least one season.
— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) May 13, 2019
Could this mean Arsenal play 2019-20 Champions League football?
Arsenal finished the Premier League season in fifth spot.
That qualified the Gunners for next season’s Europa League.
Of course, Arsenal could qualify for the 2019-20 Champions League if they can beat Chelsea in this season’s Europa League final.
But could Arsenal also benefit from Man City’s possible Champions League ban threat?
Put simply, if City are kicked out of next year’s Champions League, could their spot go to the Gunners?
The Sun float the possibility of Arsenal benefiting from Man City’s punishment:
That (Man City) punishment could open the door for fifth-placed Arsenal to be handed a Champions League place even if they lose the Europa League Final to Chelsea.
Here’s tomorow’s @SunSport back page:
— Sun Sport (@SunSport) May 13, 2019
So what’s likely to happen?
While the Sun’s Arsenal angle is eye-catching, it’s also likely to be wide of the mark.
There appears to be a helluva lot of water to pass under the bridge before any Man City punishment is actually sentenced.
The first step for UEFA is to actually conclude that Man City should be subjected to a Champions League ban. Today, that’s not been rubber-stamped.
If such a decision comes to pass, Man City will surely appeal that decision.
For the record, as confirmed in the Times, Man City wholly reject any claims of wrongdoing. Readers are reminded:
City have strenuously denied any wrongdoing and vowed that they would mount an aggressive response to any effort to bar the club from the Champions League. “The accusation of financial irregularities are entirely false,” City said in a statement this year.
Should such an appeal be lodged by City, the Sky Blues are likely to receive a stay of execution with regards to any Champions League ban.
The result: it’s close to certain that City will be in the Champions League next season, meaning that Arsenal must win the Europa League to book their spot in the competition.