Valentine's Day 2020: The Day UEFA Broke Manchester City's Heart
Valentine's Day is meant to be full of love, however, for fans supporting the blue side of the city of Manchester this once joyous day has taken a dark turn. The Adjudicatory Chamber of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body officially announced today that Manchester City will serve a two-season ban from all European competitions, the Champions League and the Europa League, while also having to pay a fine of 30 million euros. UEFA ruled that Manchester City had made serious breaches of the Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations. Between 2012 and 2016 while Sheikh Mansour was using his oil mine to build his club's empire he dodged UEFA regulations and rule using their sponsorship company, Etihad Airways, to hide his personal investments in the club as "sponsorship deals". This combined with their unprecedented overspending on players to catch up to the much bigger clubs more than warrants UEFA's crackdown on the club.
While the fine of 30 million euros does not have too much of an effect on a club owned by Qatari princes, the two-season ban from the Champions League will be extremely detrimental to the future of the club. The Champions League is one of the best ways to get revenue for your club as it has worldwide viewership and is the pinnacle of club competition within the sport. Not only is it good for revenue, but also the way English clubs compete for signings and convincing them to join their club is by guaranteeing them playing time in competitions like the Champions League. As a result, Manchester City will have a hard time signing top-level players in the next two years.
Similarly, this ban is a killer for the club as they have won multiple Premier League titles in recent years but the one trophy that has eluded them is the Champions League. Their world-class manager, Pep Guardiola, has come out and said on multiple occasions that the Champions League is by far the club's top priority, and now that they have the ban from the competition, it seems probable that Pep will leave the club.
Furthermore, the majority of City's star players will likely put in transfer requests this summer to get away from the club. Worst of all, the English Football Association, the body that runs the Premier League and all English leagues, has come out and said they are Overall, these punishments are set to put a major roadblock in the club's meteoric rise to the top.
Often criticized by the media, and even by me on this very blog, UEFA has finally taken a stand against big clubs that overspend. More importantly, the decision to crack down on the Qatari princes' clubs specifically is immense for European soccer as clubs like PSG and Manchester City have been rapidly spending and buying trophies for themselves.
Manchester City, much like Chelsea a few months ago, will have the opportunity to appeal this ban in the coming months and they have already stated that they plan to do so. For now, all we can do is hope that UEFA stands strong in their punishment and does not crack with the bribes that are likely to come from Sheikh Mansour.