Manchester City banned from European football over 'serious breaches' of financial regulations
Manchester City have been banned from European football for the next two seasons after they were found to have seriously misled Uefa and broken financial fair play (FFP) rules.
Uefa's club financial control body (CFCB) found City guilty on Friday of having falsely inflated their sponsorship revenue when they made submissions to the FFP compliance process.
The Abu Dhabi-owned club were also fined $32.5m following an investigation that was sparked by the publication of leaked emails and documents obtained by the German magazine Der Spiegel.
'We have been calling for severe action against Manchester City and Paris St. Germain for years. Better late than never,'
- Javier Tebas, La Liga president
The magazine reported in 2018 that City's owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan - a senior member of Abu Dhabi's ruling royal family - was mostly funding the club's £67.5m ($88m) annual sponsorship in 2015-2016.
One leaked email suggested that only £8m of the club's sponsorship for that season was funded directly by Etihad, City's main sponsor, with the remaining £59.5m coming from Mansour's Abu Dhabi United Group.
Friday's punishment prevents City from playing in any European competitions, including the Champions League and the Europa League, until the 2022-23 season.
'Better late than never'
Manchester City said in a statement that the club was "disappointed but not surprised" by the decision, calling it "flawed and consistently leaked".
The club added that they would appeal the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport at "the earliest possible opportunity".
"Simply put, this is a case initiated by Uefa, prosecuted by Uefa and judged by Uefa. With this prejudicial process now over, the club will pursue an impartial judgment as quickly as possible and will therefore, in the first instance, commence proceedings with the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the earliest opportunity."
Uefa said in its statement on Friday: "The Adjudicatory Chamber, having considered all the evidence, has found that Manchester City committed serious breaches of the Uefa Financial Fair Play Regulations by overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to Uefa between 2012 and 2016.
"The Adjudicatory Chamber has also found that in breach of the regulations the club failed to cooperate in the investigation of this case by the CFCB."
FFP was introduced by Uefa in 2011 to improve the "overall financial health of European club football," and prevent what its then president Michel Platini called "financial doping."
Javier Tebas, the president of La Liga, the Spanish top flight, and a longstanding, outspoken critic of Manchester City, praised UEFA for "finally taking decisive action".
"Enforcing the rules of financial fair play and punishing financial doping is essential for the future of football," Tebas said. "We have been calling for severe action against Manchester City and Paris St. Germain for years. Better late than never."