The next few weeks and months are going to be fascinating in Manchester City’s battle against their ban from the Champions League.
Last Friday, the club were hit with a two-season ban from the European competition and a €30 million fine by UEFA for ‘serious’ breaches of Financial Fair Play rules.
City are planning to take the ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and are reportedly confident of getting the ban overturned.
The outcome of their appeal will have a huge impact on City’s future.
Fail to get the ban overturned or reduced and they face a number of first-team stars leaving.
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So City will no doubt present a thorough, detailed case as they attempt to get their ban wiped out.
However, a thread by an expert on football finance makes for ominous reading by the club.
There have been suggestions that City could lose their 2013/14 Premier League title, and finance guru Mo Chatra believes expulsion from the Premier League “would be almost an inevitability” if the club are found guilty of falsifying or distorting their finances.
"Since news broke of Man City's punishment by UEFA of a ban of two seasons from its competitions plus a £25m fine, lots has been written about the assortment of ramifications that could arise from this monumental decision. Criminal proceedings is one that hasn't had much press,” Chatra wrote.
“However, the law taking an interest in this is yet another issue that is bound to have City and its owners sweating.
“See, falsifying accounts/false accounting is a criminal offence in the UK under Section 17 of the Theft Act 1968.
“If any of City's financial records have been amended or falsified to present a distorted position, they are in breach of the law.
“For the avoidance of doubt, I'm not suggesting City are guilty of this, but if UEFA's assertions are true, it's possible the law may have been broken.
“If City are guilty of this, not only are custodial sentences (depending on the scale and severity of the offence) possible, but potential expulsion from the Premier League would be almost an inevitability.
“UEFA has already gone on record about its view that sponsorship revenue presented by City was not in accordance with FFP rules.
“However, we know e-mail leaks seemed to suggest remuneration of employees may have been handled in dubious ways too.
“This could be another area that could be investigated by the law- and the tax authorities may then look to delve further into this area as well (which may then reveal further potential breaches of the law).
“City, of course, maintain that evidence will clear their name when they go to CAS. For them to overturn UEFA's decision, they may well have to explain, for example, how their commercial revenue in 2011/12 doubled from the previous season (same season FFP came into effect).
“The implications of this story are so wide-reaching and complex, but the potential for criminal proceedings is one that hasn't had much coverage - but could turn into a major talking point as this story develops."
These are drastic measures and a ban from the Champions League seems harsh enough.
City are being taught serious lessons, though, and there’s no telling where this will all end up.News Now - Sport News