Tomorrow may deliver Manuel Pellegrini’s first trophy in a decade coaching in Europe, but yesterday brought only bad news for the Manchester City manager. He was handed a two-match touchline ban by Uefa, which is also understood to have begun investigating his club for breaching Financial Fair Play rules.
Pellegrini, whose City team are strong favourites to defeat Sunderland in tomorrow’s Capital One Cup final, was penalised for suggesting referee Jonas Eriksson favoured Barcelona in their Champions League first-leg tie last month. He will be banned from all contact with his team during the second leg on 12 March, and City’s next match in Europe after that. A third one-game ban is suspended for two years. Pellegrini can appeal.
Europe’s governing body also revealed that 76 clubs in European competition this season – about a third of the total – are being investigated for possible breaches of FFP.
City and French club Paris Saint-Germain, whose main sponsorship deals are linked to their owners from Abu Dhabi and Qatar respectively, are thought to be among the 76, but another club to spend heavily in recent years, Chelsea, say they are not.
The 76 clubs will now have their cases assessed by the Club Financial Control Body. Uefa will name clubs still facing possible action next month and apply sanctions in June. These range from a warning to, in extreme cases, being barred from competing and having trophies stripped.
The sanctions will apply from the start of next season. Appeals – only to the Court of Arbitration for Sport – are expected to be decided before European group stage draws are made in August.