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
Sport
Murray celebrates reaching the final
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
'Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows' by John Constable
art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
musicYou'll have to ask Taylor Swift first
News
Joel Grey, now 82, won several awards for his role in Cabaret
people
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
Sport
Harry Kane celebrates scoring the opening goal for Spurs
footballLive: All the latest transfer news as deadline day looms
Arts and Entertainment
Master of ceremony: Jeremy Paxman
tvReview: Victory for Jeremy Paxman in this absorbing, revealing tale
News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
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

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness