According to Sky Sports, Manchester City face the threat of UEFA sanctions after failing to comply with financial fair play (FFP) rules. The club have been issued with a settlement offer ahead of talks later this week and must now decide whether to accept UEFA's offer or try to negotiate a lesser punishment.
Fewer than 20 clubs have been found guilty of breaching the rules, a list that also includes Paris Saint-Germain, and they could all now face the prospect of anything from a fine to European squad restrictions next season.
Currently, the settlement packages are unknown, but a final decision could become clear as early as Friday of this week. It is thought that expulsion from European competition—the most severe sanction available to UEFA—is an unlikely outcome.
However, according to Ben Rumsby writing in the Telegraph, clubs such as Everton, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United, all of whom may be directly affected by City's spending, could well appeal if they feel the sanctions imposed on the club aren't strong enough, a situation that may lead to UEFA increasing the punishment further.
The current monitoring period assesses club accounts for the last two seasons, with FFP rules only permitting losses of up to £37 million over those two years. City posted losses of £97 million in 2011-2012 and £51.6 million in 2012-2013, making a combined figure of £149 million.
However, club sources told Bleacher Report earlier this month that they felt confident that their case would be looked on more favourably given the almost-halving of their losses, as well as the huge increase in their revenue—up to £271 million 2014, putting them sixth on the Deloitte Football Money League. City are clearly a club on their way to self-sufficiency, exactly what UEFA wants from top sides across Europe.
With City also spending significant sums on youth development and other infrastructure projects, it was felt by many that UEFA would be likely to view that as positive spending—the antithesis of the "financial doping" they are looking to stamp out.
It would seem the chances of a side looking to use private investment as a way of breaking into the top tier of European football, much like City did after their takeover in 2008, are reduced dramatically by FFP, meaning the current crop of clubs who dominate are in a strong position to remain there.
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_.
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