The 2019/20 season has gone from disappointing to utterly disastrous for Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola has watched his side drift out of the Premier League title race, with Liverpool boasting a 22-point lead at the top.
But on Friday, the reigning champions were rocked by a much more serious issue.
City have received a two-year ban from UEFA competitions and fined €30 million (£25 million) for breaching Financial Fair Play rules enforced by the governing body of European football.
It’s also been reported that they could be docked Premier League points as a result of their alleged offences.
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In a statement following the decision, City questioned the legitimacy of the ruling and vowed to lodge an appeal through an independent judiciary as soon as possible.
“Simply put, this is a case initiated by UEFA, prosecuted by UEFA and judged by UEFA,” it read on the official club website.
“With this prejudicial process now over, the club will pursue an impartial judgment as quickly as possible and will therefore, in the first instance, commence proceedings with the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the earliest opportunity.”
Given the bullish tone of their response, it would seem that City are expecting to see the two-year ban overturned, or at least reduced to some extent.
However, there could be a lot more riding on the final outcome than merely their right to participate in Europe’s premier club competition until 2022.
According to The Telegraph, Guardiola may leave City at the end of the season if the ban remains in place.
Appointed with the ultimate goal of winning the most prestigious prize in club football, the Spaniard has always insisted he wants to stay until his contract expires in 2021.
However, despite claiming he trusts the club hierarchy when they deny any wrongdoing, the prospect of two seasons without Champions League football could see him walk away.
Guardiola also brought with him a penchant for attracting top players, so his exit would surely test the commitment of the glittering squad he has assembled over the past four seasons.
The situation is unlikely to reach a definite conclusion for some time yet, though you can be sure City are in for a frantic final few months of the season off the pitch.News Now - Sport News