Investigators from the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) want English Premier League winners, Manchester City to be banned from the Champions League for a season if they are found guilty of breaking financial rules.
This is even as former Belgian Prime Minister and Chairman of the Investigatory Panel of UEFA’s Independent Financial Control Board, Yves Leterme is set to make a recommendation this week.
With no vote in such cases, the final say lies with Leterme but several of his colleagues are reported to have firmly expressed the view at a recent meeting that a season-long ban would be a suitable punishment if City is found guilty.
Leterme and his team have been looking at evidences first uncovered in a series of leaks published last year by the German newspaper, Der Spiegel, alleging that City had broken Financial Fair Play regulations by inflating the value of a multi million-pound sponsorship deal.
The management of the Premier League champions, who were fined £49 million in 2014 for a previous breach of UEFA’s financial regulations have however denied any wrongdoing.
UEFA’s adjudicatory chamber would have to decide whether it agrees with any of Leterme’s recommendations, expected in the next 48 hours although it is unlikely to apply to next season’s competition as City could appeal and even take their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
A ban could be a major blow for a club desperate to win Europe’s most prestigious club competition for the first time and who could also face a transfer ban with the FA, Premier League and FIFA currently investigating them over their signing of youth players.