Contact Us
Top banner desktop

Manchester City's Financial Fair Play Woes

Here we dive into all the decisive details encompassing Manchester City’s UEFA Champions League ban as well as the Financial Fair Play(FFP) infractions that they committed and more.

Vinayak Manoj
Last updated: 16.02.2020
Manchester City's Financial Fair Play Woes | Sports Social Blog

Get 100% Deposit Bonus on Bilbet

Exclusive bonuses and freebets available in IPL 2024. Turn your Cricket Knowledge into Money!

The Chief Investigator and the first Chairman of the CFCB, Jean-Luc Dehaene referred to the ban from participating in European competitions as an “atomic bomb”. Deep tremors were felt in certain parts of Manchester that consider the city to be Blue following the news regarding Manchester City’s two-year European ban. The decision of barring the Cityzens from participating in the next two Champions Leagues’ was taken after they were found to have breached serious Financial Fair Play rules. Along with the ban, Manchester City was slapped with a €30 million fine. 


The FFP rules were introduced by UEFA to ensure that any and all football clubs competing in their competitions would not spend big bucks in the pursuit of success. This rule was incorporated to make sure that clubs were not promoting the phenomenon of “Financial Doping”, as the then President Micheal Platini called it. The first-ever FFP ruling was based on the club accounts from the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. The clubs are required to balance their footballing expenditures- transfers and wages- with the revenue raised by ticket sales, their commercial departments, etc. The financial expenditure to maintain stadiums, training facilities, and youth academies are exempt. The Club Financial Control Body is the regulatory body within UEFA that is responsible for the application of the Financial Fair Play regulations.

An investigation against Manchester City was initiated by the CFCB in March 2019 in response to claims that stated that the club was guilty of breaching FFP rules. The allegations came into the purview of the public by a German publication Der Spiegel that made its claims based on documents that they had received from a community of whistleblowers known as Football Leaks. The leaked documents contained emails that found Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan to have funded the majority of the club’s £67.5 million sponsorship by Etihad. One of the documents that were leaked claimed that Etihad only funded £8 million of that sponsorship with the rest being covered by Mansour’s company Abu Dhabi United Group.

The reports state that Manchester City attempted to deceive UEFA so as to meet certain FFP regulations. The CFCB found CIty guilty of consciously exaggerating the financial value of their sponsorship deal with Etihad which would allow them to spend more money on transfers. 

A surprising element, in this case, is the fact that this is not the first time that Manchester City has found itself violating the FFP rules, although previously they were only punished with fines that were more often than not suspended. AC Milan was one team that suffered the same fate as City but for one season. Milan made an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Their appeal was considered and UEFA was asked to issue a disciplinary measure that was a little more proportionate.


Manchester City’s ban is likely to affect the Champions League qualification in the Premier League. UEFA rules clearly state that the teams finishing in the top four positions automatically qualify for the Champions League. Should City’s ban be maintained their Champions League spot will go to the team that finishes fifth, considering City manage to finish in the top four. City will not be allowed to compete in the Europa League either as UEFA’s decision states that City are banned from participating in all UEFA club competitions, including the Europa League, Club World Cup and the UEFA Super Cup. UEFA rules state that the winner of the Champions League automatically qualifies for the league next season regardless of their performance in their subsequent domestic league. Although City will not be allowed to participate in the competition even if they are to win the Champions League this season. 

Manchester City now faces the daunting task of having to restructure their finances completely. This may lead to City being forced to part with their star players like Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, Aymeric Laporte and more. Another obstacle that City may face is a deduction of points this season if they are charged for the breach of Financial Rules in a separate Premier League investigation. No comments have been issued and City is yet to be charged for their infringements. If City is to be charged, the Premier League rule book allows a deduction of points that may impact the position that City holds in the league as of now. Speculation suggests that the time period for the investigation would be from 2012 to 2016 as that is the time period that UEFA’s CFCB alleges City to have overstated their sponsorship income. It is unclear whether this allegation will cover the City’s Premier League title win of the 2012 season, but it will definitely cover that of the 2014 title. Therefore CIty runs the risk of being stripped of their Premier League title that they won in 2014. 

Sheik Mansour allegedly claimed he would “rather spend £30 million on the 50 best lawyers” to sue UEFA rather than accepting this severe punishment. On the other hand, City look to appeal this ban at the earliest opportunity with the Court of Arbitration for Sport and are keen to seek an impartial judgment. City is likely to face judgment day in court this summer as the proceedings need to be completed before the next round of European competitions commence. City are faced with tough times and the future seems to be a shade of bleak, only time will tell how bad this ‘atomic bomb’ will strike the Etihad Stadium and whether the Cityzens will be able to recover from this hardship.

Top banner desktop

Chase Your Sport

Stay up-to-date on the latest sports news, stats, expert analysis and trends, including cricket, football, wrestling, tennis, basketball, Formula One and more. Find previews, schedules, results of upcoming events, and fantasy tips on Chase Your Sport.