Manchester City will not feature in the next two Champions League campaigns after UEFA announced the Premier League club have been suspended for “serious breaches” of Financial Fair Play law.
UEFA released a statement on Friday confirming City’s ban along with a $32.5 million (€30 million) fine, although the decision is subject to an appeal by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (via Rob Harris of the Associated Press).
The statement from European football’s governing body said the club was guilty of “overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016.”
City have since issued a response via their official website, which said the defending Premier League champions are “disappointed but not surprised” by the suspension and fine.
The statement suggested their case had been mishandled by UEFA’s chief investigator, adding:
“The subsequent flawed and consistently leaked UEFA process he oversaw has meant that there was little doubt in the result that he would deliver. The Club has formally complained to the UEFA Disciplinary body, a complaint which was validated by a CAS ruling.”
David Conn of the Guardian referred to leaks regarding City’s finances first made by German magazine Der Spiegel in 2018, which suggested Abu Dhabi was directly funding revenue masked as sponsorship money.
City were fined £49 million and had their Champions League squad temporarily restricted in May 2014, becoming one of the first clubs to face sanctions for breaching Financial Fair Play rules.
BBC Sport reported on Thursday—one day prior to the most recent suspension—that City were seeking damages from UEFA for what they considered “unlawful” leaks regarding their investigation.
UEFA’s ruling would see the Citizens banned from taking part in Europe’s premier competition until the 2022-23 season should the CAS uphold UEFA’s decision.