Manchester City will find out whether they face any sanctions for failing to comply with Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations on May 5. City are one of 76 clubs being investigated by UEFA, a list which also includes big-spending Paris Saint-Germain.
UEFA rules stipulate that clubs can only post losses of 45 million euros for this monitoring period, which includes both 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, or risk receiving a warning, a fine, restrictions on transfers, or expulsion from European competitions. A transfer embargo, as suggested in some quarters, is not currently a punishment UEFA are considering, according to Article 29 of this document.
UEFA have set up the Club Financial Control Panel (CFCP) to police the situation and enforce FFP sanctions on those clubs flouting the rules. The panel met earlier this week to consider the cases of the clubs they are monitoring closely.
On the surface, it appears City would fail under scrutiny. They posted losses of £97 million in 2012 and £51.6 million in 2013, making for a combined figure of £149 million for this monitoring period—way over the current threshold laid out by UEFA and the CFCP.
However, that doesn't take into account spending on infrastructure and youth development—areas City have invested heavily in—meaning that figure is misleading.
Indeed, sources at the Etihad Stadium told Bleacher Report the club are relaxed about the situation, primarily because their losses have almost halved in the last 12 months, with their revenue rising all the time. City now have the sixth-highest revenue of any football club in Europe, with £271 million posted in 2014 (via Deloitte Football Money League).
UEFA are said to be prepared to take into account clubs going in the right direction in terms of being self-sufficient financially, and City clearly fall into that category.
The wisdom of FFP is still debatable in the eyes of many. UEFA president Michel Platini originally came up with the idea in order to stop clubs spending beyond their means, in order to bring stability to finances in football.
However, critics say it contravenes basic European competition law by restricting a club's ability to invest and improve.
It is also feared that FFP will strengthen the grip the current crop of top clubs have on success by making it more difficult for clubs outside the top tier to become successful by investing in their playing squad, as City and others have done.
It's unclear how strict the first round of FFP sanctions will be, but all will become clear in early May.
Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here: @RobPollard.