Manchester City risk Champions League expulsion if they tackle Uefa over FFP punishments

Premier League club angry at being bracketed with PSG by Uefa and will fight cap on wages and Champions League squad

Manchester City will risk possible expulsion from next season’s Champions League if they fight the sanctions Uefa impose on them for being in breach of Financial Fair Play.

City, who can take a giant stride towards the Premier League title by beating Aston Villa tonight, learned yesterday that Paris Saint-Germain have been hit by far harsher sanctions than had been expected for their own breach. It would be surprising if City faced similar tough punishment to PSG, who will receive a €60m (£49m) fine, a reduction from 25 to 21 in their squad for next season’s competition and the stipulation that their wage bill for next season’s competition must not exceed this season’s. It is by no means certain that City will face the same penalty as the French club – even though the PSG settlement reveals that the sanction regime is going to be tough.

City must either reach a settlement with Uefa’s Financial Control Body or a non-negotiable punishment will be put into the hands of the adjudicatory chamber of that body. City’s right of appeal then goes to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which would consider their case before the start of next season’s competition. Lawyer Daniel Geey, the football law specialist at the firm Field Fisher Waterhouse, who has advised clients and written extensively on FFP, said last night that an appeal did create a “higher risk of expulsion” for City.

“It seems logical that if you settle with Uefa you are going to receive greater leniency from the regulator,” Geey said. “That is the incentive to settle. If you challenge the decision, and in the case of a severe breach, you run the risk that every sanction is available to the FCB including expulsion from the Champions League.”

Uefa will allow the City owner Sheikh Mansour to cover any FFP fine with loans to the club (Getty) Uefa will allow the City owner Sheikh Mansour to cover any FFP fine with loans to the club (Getty)
City, who go into the Villa game at the Etihad Stadium tonight without the injured Sergio Aguero, appear to have grounds to argue that they should not get the same punishment as PSG, having produced audited accounts which saw them narrowly pass the FFP test in February. City have also halved their losses for each of the last two years.

They do seem likely to face a fine – PSG’s is payable over three years – and a stipulation that they reduce next season’s squad. The fine may not be damaging because it is likely to be excluded from the spending which forms part of future FFP calculations. Effectively that means their Abu Dhabi owners could provide loans to enable them to pay it. Keeping wages at the last financial year’s levels – another of the sanctions – is also eased by the fact that the pay-off for former manager Roberto Mancini and his substantial staff were included under “wages” for 2013. That figure would automatically have been reduced for this year anyway.

 

However, a demand to reduce their 2014-15 Champions League foreign player component by four – PSG’s punishment – would be more biting. It will make the English component of the squad far more important to manager Manuel Pellegrini, at a time when City are  preparing to lose Gareth Barry, Joleon Lescott, Micah Richards and Scott Sinclair from their payroll. The importance of James Milner and Jack Rodwell increases and Pellegrini may need to bring home-grown players back to bolster his squad.

It was unclear last night whether the fine which City must pay to Uefa will affect their spending on wages under new Premier League FFP rules. FFP expert Ed Thompson said that it may limit City, who are only allowed to increase wages by £4m next season unless they increase their revenue, to cover a rise beyond that.

Thompson pointed out that the accounting device by which City included Mancini’s pay-off under “wages” allowed them to limit the damage of wage restrictions. “The pay-off to [Mancini’s predecessor] Mark Hughes was listed as an ‘exceptional item’. The new Premier League spending constraints uses 2012-13 as a benchmark season for wage-increases. Again having Mancini’s pay-off in this category helps,” Thompson said.

City have until the end of the week to reach an agreement with Uefa over the sanctions – but it is understood they are the club furthest away from reaching any final settlement.

Their negotiations with Uefa come as City seek to move closer to a second Premier League title in three years tonight, with Pellegrini expressing hope that Aguero will be fit to face West Ham in the last league game of the season, which City will go into needing only a draw if they can beat Villa.

The Chilean insisted he had not watched Crystal Palace’s extraordinary comeback against Liverpool at Selhurst Park on Monday, which left the away side’s title hopes in tatters, but said the 3-3 draw was a warning for his players. “Always it’s a good lesson for everyone,” Pellegrini said. “No one knows what will happen in football – that’s why it’s the most important sport. It depends on a lot of things, not just what you can do. Liverpool were winning 3-0 but the score changed.”

Pellegrini, who has Yaya Touré fit, predictably refused to respond to Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers’ claims that City – who have managed only one five-game winning run this season – may struggle to move beyond the three successive wins which Saturday’s win at Everton marked. “We are not thinking about five in a row,” he said, “we just need to win the one game on Wednesday first against Aston Villa. If I try to be calm it’s because I think it’s the best way for the players to play these two games.”

How would City cope with Uefa squad limits?

Ian Herbert

New deal for James Milner?

With four fewer foreign players, the obligatory home-grown component of eight in the 21-man Champions League squad becomes more important. With four of this season’s eight possibly leaving, James Milner becomes a far more significant part of the picture at City. He has a year left on his contract and his negotiating position has now become stronger. The same goes for Jack Rodwell.

Keep Micah Richards?

City may also need to think again about whether to allow English players to leave this summer to be replaced with foreigners. They are on course to have 16 foreign players next season – 19 if they bring in Fernando, Eliaquim Mangala and Bacary Sagna, making it difficult to accommodate all their big names. Keeping Micah Richards seems a more attractive option. Joleon Lescott and Scott Sinclair seem likely to go, however.

Bring back Rekik and Co?

The need for a stronger English component could lead to some of the young, home-grown players they have out on loan coming back. The best is Karim Rekik, who has said that he wants 20 games for City next season, having been out at PSV Eindhoven this season. Marcos Lopes and Emyr Huws, from Patrick Vieira’s Elite Development Squad, as well as John Guidetti, seem more important now.

Rethink transfer targets – to include Cesc Fabregas?

This summer’s prime objective is to bolster their defence. But while Cardiff City’s Steven Caulker is not currently on their radar, despite suggestions to the contrary, the situation City find themselves in make Cesc Fabregas, in whom they have an interest, more of an attractive proposition because he was a home-grown player at Arsenal. The highly-rated Paul Pogba of Juventus is also in the same category – home-grown at Manchester United.

Cesc Fabregas could be a target for Manchester City, as he is classed as home-grown from his Arsenal days (Getty) Cesc Fabregas could be a target for Manchester City, as he is classed as home-grown from his Arsenal days (Getty)
Stick to prudent wages?

City will not be in a position to splurge wages and that may be a factor in the transfer window – though that has been the case for some time. The new players signed last summer were in the £70,000- to £80,000-a-week basic pay bracket, with contracts now heavily incentivised as City move beyond the “accelerated growth” period when they agreed to pay players like Yaya Touré £220,000-a-week. When David Silva’s contract was renegotiated a year ago, his basic was in a bracket that would have been considered second-grade in the days of big spending.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
filmEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering