Sat, 04 Apr 2020

City' success will now always have an asterisk

News24
17 Feb 2020, 23:43 GMT+10

Cape Town - Reigning English Premiership champions Manchester City have been left reeling after being found to have committed "serious breaches" of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.

European football's governing body UEFA banned City from all European competitions for the next two seasons and imposed a fine of €30 million.

City were found guilty of overstating their sponsorship revenue from 2012 to 2016 to remain within the FFP-regulated guidelines that state teams are not allowed to accrue losses of more than €30 million.

According to Forbes, City made €71 million last season by reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League and stand to potentially miss out on over €142 million - plus the €30 million fine.

It has also been confirmed that the Premier League is progressing with its own investigation that could see City facing further sanctions and docked points.

These punishments will have wide-ranging and lasting effects on the club with their domestic achievements undoubtedly tainted.

But save a thought for the teams who will feel cheated by City's "financial doping"

In 2014 Arsene Wenger said that teams who break FFP rules should be punished by excluding them from European competitions.

Perhaps Wenger felt so passionately about this that he sold his best players. Despite this, Arsenal remained competitive and remained financially sound after moving to their new Emirates Stadium in 2006.

Wenger faced fierce criticism for failing to win a Premier League title since the 2003/04 season while under financial constraints - something that City have simply traversed with owner Sheikh Mansour's financial might.

Other teams too will feel hard done by by City's offences.

Let's focus first on the period between 2012 and 2016 where City lifted one Premier League title and two League Cup trophies:

- All teams who finished fifth lost out on qualifying for the Champions League: Tottenham, Everton, Tottenham, Manchester United

- Liverpool were beaten by two points in the 2013/14 season that featured Steven Gerrard's infamous slip against Chelsea.

"I'm really interested to see the outcome of that. Until I get the punishment from the Premier League, I won't comment further. But I'm really, really interested in it... for obvious reasons," Gerrard told Sky Sports.

- Sunderland were beaten by City in the 2014 League Cup final. The Black Cats were appearing in their first League Cup final since 1985 having last won a major cup in 1973.

- Liverpool again suffered at the hands of City after losing the 2016 League Cup final in a penalty shoot-out.

Finally, an argument could be made that City should be stripped of even more titles after this four-year period as they constructed their future success that led to more trophies in this period.

They beat Jose Mourinho's Manchester United and again Liverpool when winning back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019.

It's hard to know with any certainty what level of punishment City deserve, or whether it will be overturned after an appeal.

But after the judgement was laid bare, a thought should be spared for those players and teams that have been robbed of successes or criticised for their lack thereof when going about business the right way.

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