City’s three-day appeal to CAS against UEFA’s ruling for ‘serious breaches’ of Financial Fair Play regulations following the reopening of a 2014 investigation is currently being heard.
City could be banned from the Champions League until 2022
The Times describes a ‘devastating effect’ if the appeal fails, noting that participation in the Champions League over the next two seasons could be worth up £200m to City. Losing that income would be worsened further by a £27m fine also hanging over the club.
The report highlights that City earned £83m from Champions League TV money and performance related bonuses, plus a further £10m in matchday revenue from those European nights. As such, it is estimated that lost revenue from being barred from the competition could total around one fifth of the club’s usual annual revenue in each of the two years the ban is due to last.
We noted earlier this week that City could also experience problems with attracting players and keep hold of their existing stars if the ban is upheld by CAS.
The Champions League is the competition that all the best players want to play in. Not only could the ban influence whether prospective new signings want to join them, it could even prompt existing stars to push for a transfer away from the club.
Kevin De Bruyne & Raheem Sterling are linked with moves away
Kevin De Bruyne will be 29 at the end of this month. If City’s Champions League ban is upheld by CAS, the Belgian will have no choice but to leave if he wants to win the competition while still at his peak and the possibility of pushing for an exit has already been rumoured.
Less dramatic but still of obvious concern would be key players Aymeric Laporte at 26, and Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva, who will both turn 26 in the coming few months. All three could see some or all of their peak years lost out of the Champions League.
In a way, the saving grace for City in that respect could be the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the transfer market, with few clubs expected to have the resources and funds for big money deals this summer that would allow them to come after the likes of De Bruyne and Sterling.
Throughout proceedings, City have denied any wrongdoing and maintain the allegations against them are false. Chief executive Ferran Soriano has promised ‘irrefutable evidence that the claims are not true’. However, the Financial Times cites a source with knowledge of the investigations saying, ‘provided UEFA don’t cave in, they should win at CAS…City have no evidence at all.’
According to The Times, who estimate that a CAS verdict will be relayed in July, City are expected to target UEFA’s procedure during the investigation as their defence.
The club has never denied the authenticity of the leaked emails and documents that formed the basis of the reopened investigation but insist it is based on hacked information taken out of context.