Soccer

Manchester City expresses concern over Champions League ban story

AFP-JIJI

Premier League champion Manchester City said Tuesday it was concerned “individuals intent on damaging” the club may be behind a news report that European soccer’s financial regulators are poised to recommend it be barred from the Champions League.

UEFA and the Premier League launched an investigation this year after allegations made in German magazine Der Spiegel that the club broke Financial Fair Play rules.

The New York Times said Monday that members of the investigatory chamber of UEFA’s financial control board, set up to analyze the accounts of clubs suspected of breaking cost-control regulations, met two weeks ago in Switzerland to finalize their conclusions.

“The investigatory panel’s leader, the former prime minister of Belgium Yves Leterme, will have the final say on the submission to a separate adjudicatory chamber, which could be filed as soon as this week. The body is expected to seek at least a one-season ban,” said The Times.

However, City said it was fully co-operating with “the CFCB IC’s (club financial control body investigatory chamber) ongoing investigation.”

“In doing so the club is reliant on both the CFCB IC’s independence and commitment to due process; and on UEFA’s commitment of March 7 that it ‘will make no further comment on the matter while the investigation is ongoing,’ ” read its statement.

It was unclear if such a ban, if levied, would be enforced next season or in the 2020-21 campaign, The Times said, noting that with qualifying for Europe’s most prestigious and lucrative club championship set to start in June there is little time to finalize a sanction.

Manchester City would also have the right to appeal such a ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.