Paris - UEFA
on Thursday announced they were opening an investigation into whether
or not Manchester City broke Financial Fair Play rules, a breach that
could lead to a devastating Champions League ban.
However, English champions City insisted the accusations against them
are false and that they welcomed the opportunity to clear their name.
German magazine Der Spiegel, using material purportedly obtained from
the whistleblowing outlet Football Leaks, alleged in November that City
had set up sponsorship deals to circumvent regulations limiting how
much money owners can put into a club.
"The Investigatory Chamber of the independent UEFA Club Financial
Control Body has today opened a formal investigation into Manchester
City FC for potential breaches of Financial Fair Play (FFP)
regulations," said a UEFA statement on Thursday.
"The investigation will focus on several alleged violations of FFP that were recently made public in various media outlets."
City responded immediately by saying they supported the investigation and that they had nothing to hide.
"Manchester City welcomes the opening of a formal UEFA investigation
as an opportunity to bring to an end the speculation resulting from the
illegal hacking and out of context publication of City emails," the club
said in a statement.
"The accusation of financial irregularities are entirely false. The
club's published accounts are full and complete and a matter of legal
and regulatory record."
City had earlier responded to Der Spiegel's claims by saying there
had been an "organised and clear" attempt to damage the club's
A ban from UEFA competitions, including the Champions League, is a
potential punishment if City are found guilty of FFP breaches.
City were fined €60 million and subjected to
squad, wage and spending caps in a 2014 settlement agreed with UEFA
following a previous breach of the rules.
City coach Pep Guardiola has always insisted that City would accept a
ban but does not believe it is likely after discussions with the club's
"We will not be
banned, no. That's what I think because I trust in my chairman, with my
CEO, what they have explained to me," he said.
"If it happens, because UEFA decide that, we will accept it and move forward."
City are not the only European heavyweight to be caught up in claims of breaking financial fair play rules.
French champions Paris Saint-Germain quashed reports they could be
forced to sell either Kylian Mbappe or Neymar in a bid to circumvent
eventual FFP sanctions.
Qatar-owned PSG, who splashed a combined total of more than €400
million in 2017 for Brazil star Neymar and France World Cup winner
Mbappe, blasted allegations as "totally false and ridiculous".
Former European champions AC Milan were warned in December that they
risk being excluded from European competition if they fail to "break
Milan had already been banned for a year from the Europa League due
to breaching FFP regulations before winning an appeal to the Court of
Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last year.
But UEFA said the former seven-time European champions again face
suspension from continental competition in future seasons "should the
club not be break-even compliant at 30 June 2021".