The world of football is waiting with bated breath to see if Manchester City lodges an appeal against a two-year ban from European football.
The club was banned from competing in the Champions League and Europa Cup on Friday, January 14 and has 10 days to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
City says the action against them for ‘serious breaches’ of governing body UEFA’s licensing and financial fair play rules are not true.
Besides the ban, the club was fined £25 million.
“The fans can be sure of two things. The first one is that the allegations are false,” said chief executive Ferran Soriano.
“And the second is that we will do everything that can be done to prove so.”
Untrue allegations, says CEO
The Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) said City had broken the rules by “overstating sponsorship revenue in accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016.”
The independent investigation also revealed the club failed to cooperate with officials.
Soriano countered: “The owner has not put money in this club that has not been properly declared.
“We are a sustainable football club, we are profitable, we don’t have debt, our accounts have been scrutinised many times, by auditors, by regulators, by investors and this is perfectly clear.
“We did cooperate with this process. We delivered a long list of documents and support that we believe is irrefutable evidence that the claims are not true.”
Further penalties may follow
City are likely to claim the investigation was unfair and that the club was found guilty regardless of the evidence.
The English Premier League is considering if any further disciplinary action is due.
If so, City could be demoted to League 2 of the English Football League and face more fines.
Some believe the Premier League could strip the club of three league titles won since 2012.
Despite the ban, manager Pep Guardiola has resolved to stay with City, as have many of the players.
An appeal to the CAS would delay the ban.
In 2014, City was fined £50 million for breaking financial fair play rules.