• Champions League

City set for £50m fine and Champions League squad limit

ESPN staff
May 6, 2014
ESPN FC: City sitting on top

Manchester City are facing a reported £50 million fine and will have their Champions League squad restricted to 21 players next season after rejecting proposed sanctions relating to a breach of UEFA's Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.

While several other clubs including Paris Saint-Germain who have failed to meet break-even requirements are believed to be ready to accept sanctions, the Times report that City are heading for a row with UEFA.

The reduction in the number of players City would be able to register for the Champions League would hit the club hardest, as they would still also have to include eight locally-trained players in that squad.

UEFA had hoped settlements could be reached this week with City, rather than enforcing a punishment against their will, but talks have already dragged on longer than expected.

Kompany break through pain barrier

Vincent Kompany endured a torrid time at Anfield © Getty Images
  • Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany believes he has overcome his knee injury and is in excellent condition for the title run in.
  • The defender has played through the pain barrier after incurring a problem in training the day before his side's 3-2 defeat to Liverpool, when he played but struggled and was partly culpable for all three goals.
  • "I've really had some tough weeks," he said. "I've had to manage the pain and only been able to play, not train too much.
  • "At Everton [on Saturday] I was feeling much better. I felt like I played with a plaster around my knee the last few weeks.
  • "Now I feel fine. Physically I'm strong again. I knew I could play the games if I managed the pain. I've done my best this season so I could not do any more."

FFP rules dictate that clubs could lose no more than €45m (£37m) over the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. Expenditure on infrastructure, youth development and the cost of historical player contracts are not factored into those figures.

Commercial deals such as City's with Abu Dhabi airline Etihad are also subject to UEFA scrutiny if they feel they do not represent "fair value".

City attributed a large amount of their £50.6m loss for the financial year ending May 31, 2013, to the Etihad Stadium's neighbouring Etihad Campus, where all the club's teams will train from next season, as well as infrastructure and youth development.

Despite the club believing they have complied willingly with UEFA, their 10-year £350m commercial contract with Etihad for sponsorship of the stadium, training ground and team kit has raised eyebrows.

City manager Manuel Pellegrini shrugged off talk about the possible sanctions and said he will address the issue when UEFA publicly announce what the club's punishment is.

"I don't know if it is official news of Uefa of just rumours," he said. "If it is not official, I don't have anything to say.

"When it is official news of Uefa we can analyse what happens with the team. In this moment we don't know what happens."

It has been reported by L'Equipe that PSG can expect to be hit by a four-pronged punishment from UEFA.

Like City, the French champions have failed to convince European football's governing body their recently signed contract with the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) is not overvalued.

The deal, which brings the club up to €200m (£165m) a year, thus allowing them to squeeze inside FFP thresholds, has reportedly been valued at only half that amount by UEFA experts.

Consequently, UEFA and PSG have reached agreement on a moratorium which protects the club from any further, immediate sanctions, but does impose upon their owners, Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), a number of damaging restrictions.

As well as the fine and squad restriction, PSG, who boast Europe's highest wage bill at €240m (£197m), will not be allowed to increase the amount they pay in salaries and they will have to sell players before being able to spend in the coming transfer window.

UEFA will also reportedly ask PSG to limit their transfer activity, allowing them to buy one player at €60m (£50m), but forbidding them to break down that sum to buy two players, for example, at €30m (£24.6m) or three at €20m (£16.4m).

Furthermore, PSG will have to reduce their losses to €30m (£25m), rather than the €45m (£37m) stipulated by FFP regulations, by the end of the 2014-15 season.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
ESPN staff Close