UEFA Bans Manchester City From European Competition for Two Seasons

The decision comes after a high-profile investigation sparked by Football Leaks

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City - Premier League
Sergio Aguero of Manchester City during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City.

Last year, investigators from UEFA — the governing body of European soccer — began exploring whether or not Manchester City F.C. had engaged in deceptive financial practices. This investigation began as a result of information unearthed by Football Leaks, which in this case suggested that Manchester City had found a way to work around UEFA’s financial fair play guidelines. Manchester City attempted to stop the investigation, but their appeal was rejected last November.

Now the team’s day of reckoning has come. UEFA announced its decision today, and it’s massive. At The New York Times, Tariq Panja and Rory Smith report that Manchester City has been banned from European competitions for the next two seasons — i.e., 2020-21 and 2021-22 — and fined 30 million euros.

Manchester City announced its plans to appeal the decision.

UEFA’s decision lays the punishment out in stark terms:

The Adjudicatory Chamber has imposed disciplinary measures on Manchester City Football Club directing that it shall be excluded from participation in UEFA club competitions in the next two seasons (ie. the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons) and pay a fine of € 30 million.

While they’ve been a domestic powerhouse in recent years, winning four titles in the last decade after being acquired by Emirati royal Sheikh Mansour in 2008, Manchester City’s lone trophy from a European competition remains the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, a competition which no longer exists. Barring a win in this year’s competition — or a successful appeal — it’ll be a few years before they have an opportunity to add to that trophy count.

Manchester City is currently in the Round of 16 in this year’s UEFA Champions League, as well as the finals of the Carabao Cup, which would normally offer a path to Europa League qualification. Analysis from Sky Sports notes that UEFA’s decision is likely to have an impact both on the team itself and on the fortunes of the rest of the Premier League. If Manchester City, who are currently 2nd in the league, can’t qualify for next year’s Champions League, this would likely mean that the team that finishes the season in 5th place would qualify.

In a Premier League already abounding with high-profile coaching changes (with more possibly looming) and no shortage of competitive games, this is one more wrinkle on an already unpredictable season, and its effects could impact English soccer for years to come.

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