Manchester City break Financial Fair Play rules, announce Uefa

Manchester City appeared on Monday night to have paid the price for tabling obscure income figures which suggested they had earned more than £46m for selling their services, as it emerged Uefa had deemed the club to be in breach of Financial Fair Play rules.

City had initially been confident of passing the FFP test but Uefa has been sceptical of the way that City reduced their financial losses by claiming they had earned £24.5m from the sale of their own players’ image rights to a company they have never been willing publicly to name.

Such a financial arrangement has never been attempted by a football club before. City claimed an additional £22.45m income, in their latest annual financial results, by stating they were selling their intellectual property to “related parties”, including City’s American and Australian franchises and the club’s own women’s team.

Those two figures enabled City to scrape breaking even within the FFP regime. But it emerged last night that Uefa’s club financial control board has now made offers to City and Paris Saint-Germain, whom it deems in breach of the rules. If Uefa finds both those income figures void, City could be in breach to the tune of more than £40m. The club was not available for comment last night.

City are one of fewer than 20 clubs in breach. The club can either accept the penalty Uefa is proposing, under a plea bargaining system or try to negotiate a lesser punishment, ahead of the control board meeting on Thursday and Friday. The penalty could range from a reprimand or a fine up to restrictions on the squad for European competition next season.

Now that City have failed FFP, a “directly affected party” has 10 days to appeal against any attempt by the club to cut a deal with Uefa to reduce their sanction of a likely Champions League ban. City would then be exposed to a Uefa tribunal.

Meanwhile, back with matters on the pitch, City are three victories away from winning the Premier League title once again after their 2-0 win at Crystal Palace on Sunday. And after the match Pablo Zabaleta celebrated with the fervour of a man who knew just how important the result had been.

Zabaleta charged over to the 2,500 City fans who had spent the first part of their afternoon cheering on Chelsea, whose game at Liverpool had been shown on a big screen at Selhurst Park and in the concourses beforehand.

Those four hours of football could not have gone any better for City, now in charge of the title race and the bookmakers’ favourites. Zabaleta admitted afterwards that City now have a “big chance” with the destiny of the title back in their hands.

For much of this season, City have certainly looked like a brilliant side undermined by mental fragility. Pellegrini’s first year in charge has been characterised by brilliant wins, avoidable defeats – they lost at Cardiff City, Aston Villa and Sunderland – and damaging wobbles.

After they followed losing the Palm Sunday thriller at Liverpool with a surprise 2-2 draw at home with Sunderland, City looked to have surrendered any hope of winning the title. But Liverpool’s defeat at home to Chelsea on Sunday changed everything. The league is now City’s to lose.

The situation could even echo City’s epic title victory in 2011-12, when they were top throughout winter, but threw away their advantage in a disastrous March. Manchester United were in a position of strength but collapsed, while City won their last six matches and snatched the title back.

The pattern of twists and turns that season matches the roller-coaster ride of the current campaign – something Zabaleta admitted could be vital for City in the final push to the finishing line.

“We were talking about it this week,” he said. “We know we have been in this situation two years ago and the most important thing we have learnt from that time is the team spirit, to keep fighting and keep going.”

Zabaleta believes that City’s fighting character, something which he embodies, will see them through. “The champions are the ones who have this habit and we are one of those teams that fight for it.

“Hopefully, we can continue winning all the games and show one more time that these players, this manager, this team, with the staff still working hard, are very hungry for the title.”

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event
filmBut why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
News
i100
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride