Manchester City have launched an 11th-hour bid to UEFA to avoid a Champions League ban due to an alleged breach of financial fair play rules.
UEFA investigators want City to be banned from Europe’s elite competition for a season if they are found guilty – with the chief of the investigation, Yves Leterme, set to make a recommendation this week.
With no votes cast in such cases, the final say will lie with former Belgian prime minister Leterme, although he is widely tipped to agree with several of his colleagues who too have expressed their view that a season-long ban would be a suitable punishment. As such, the Premier League champions have approached the Court of Arbitration for Sport ahead of an imminent sentencing in a final bid to stop the ban, claim the Telegraph.
City, who crashed out of the Champions League at the hands of Tottenham this season, are now challenging UEFA’s right to send the Financial Fair Play case from the investigatory to adjudicatory chamber which will allow a ban to the be imposed.
Whether their bid will prove successful is unknown, however, it would be highly unlikely that the adjudicatory chamber would go against the views of Leterme, who brought the matter over alleged £60m payments – that involved inflating the value of a multimillion-pound sponsorship deal – to light two weeks ago.
The supposed sponsorship deal is alleged to have been paid directly to into the club by their billionaire Arab owners but declared as sponsorship.
Should anything come of the proposed ban, it won’t have been the first time City have been on the wrong end of Financial Fair Play rules, having been fined £49m in 2014 for a previous breach of regulations.