Premier League English

Manchester City’s Champions League ban and the round of 16

Manchester City and Real Madrid square off in a few weeks time in the Champions League round of 16. Interestingly, the tone has now taken on a different timbre with dramatic overtones with the latest news that UEFA has banned City, the defending Premier League winners, from the competition for the next two seasons.

This means Pep Guardioloa’s team will be in absentia in Europe’s premier competition for the entire duration of the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 campaigns., 

statement released by the club shortly in the late afternoon on Valentine’s Day after the news was released stated, “Manchester City is disappointed but not surprised by today’s announcement by the UEFA Adjudicatory Chamber.” They would appeal the decision “at the earliest opportunity.”

In effect, what impact would this punishment have heading into the final round of 16 match-up? Notwithstanding the negative concerns that it would stir up, it should add a new element of interest to a much-awaited tie between Real Madrid and Manchester City that many have tagged as the best of the round. In short, the 2-year ban adds fuel to Pep Guardiola’s pursuit of that elusive Champions League trophy in Manchester City and amounts to a thrilling all-out do or die mission this season.

For Pep Guardiola personally, this could even be his final year swan song with City in the harsh light of what has just transpired as he’s envisioned as the quintessential manager who should spare no efforts to compete and win titles on the highest level every year. The ban would militate against his principals and character and not being able to compete in the UEFA Champions League for almost three years would be a smudge on his legacy.

On top of that, with Liverpool’s clear lead by over 20 points in the Premier League, Guardiola had already rechanneled all of City’s focus to winning the Champions League this year.

The first leg scheduled at the Santiago Bernabéu seems on paper to favour Los Blancos but the return leg at the Etihad will likely be a totally different proposition and potentially the most difficult match of the season. One could expect a steely air of hostility from Manchester City fans with their expected suppressed rage with the enforcement of the 2-year ban. 

All things aside, Pep Guardiola would be expected to mount a last-ditch offensive assault on what could possibly be his last Champions League campaign for Manchester City. Fire and brimstone are on the way. 


UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) has handed Manchester City a two-year ban and a stiff €30 million fine. 

The suspension is due to the fact that UEFA’s Adjudicatory Chamber found that City “committed serious breaches of the Uefa Financial Fair Play Regulations by overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to Uefa between 2012 and 2016.” Majority owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan was paying for Etihad Airways to sponsor both City’s jerseys and the name on the stadium. Mansour was paying an estimated €67.5 million in total for the “deal” while the company was paying a fraction of that and only paid €8 million during the 2015/2016 season. This is assuredly a huge blow for the reigning Premier League champions, who intend to appeal the verdict. 

The decision taken by UEFA hardly comes as a surprise as City evolved almost overnight into one of the biggest spenders in the world from their low level status in their earlier years in England. 

La Liga president Javier Tebas, an ardent advocate of tough punishments for clubs found to have broken FFP rules, welcomed Manchester City’s punishment and complimented UEFA for ‘finally taking decisive action’ in handing City the Champions League ban. Tebas, who has long spoken out against the big spending of City and Paris-Saint Germain, felt the punishment was long overdue in coming. 

“Enforcing the rules of financial fair play and punishing financial doping is essential for the future of football. For years we have been calling for severe action against Manchester City and Paris Saint Germain. We finally have a good example of action and hope to see more. Better late than never.”

For Manchester City the Champions League ban will have an immediate huge effect on the Premier League European places. It is also felt by some that the ban could lead to owner Sheikh Mansour turning his back to the club.

Former City forward Rodney Marsh tweeted: “If this decision is upheld it would not surprise me to see owner Sheikh Mansour sell the club. He has been superb for City and this is a huge kick in the balls… I wouldn’t blame him.”

However, former City midfielder Michael Brown felt City’s Abu Dhabi-based owners would stay resolute and not be negatively impacted by the ban but would “come out fighting” instead. 

“What they’ve done as a football club, what they’ve done on the pitch, the way they’ve gone about it, I think they’ve been first class,” Brown told Five Live. “They’ve been honourable how they’ve gone about it, as usual like Manchester City. This will be a shock for them but it will be something that they’ll come out fighting. The owners aren’t here for the short term, they will take it on. If any owners will take this adversity, it will be these.”