Manchester City's Punishment for Breaches of UEFA FFP Regulations Announced

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistMay 16, 2014

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Update from Wednesday, June 11

UEFA has confirmed Manchester City will only have to name five home-grown players—rather than the standard eight—in their Champions League squad next season, as expected.

City will only be able to name 21 players in their overall squad, rather than the normal 25, and UEFA's general secretary Gianni Infantino told Press Association Sport, per Manchester Evening News:

It came after a request from the players union FIFPro saying when you take these kind of sanctions and measures you cannot harm the players and the rights of a player who has a contract for the behaviour of the clubs.

So we looked at it and it was felt appropriate there for the number to be proportionally reduced as well.


Update from Wednesday, May 21

Manchester City's squad selection for the 2014-15 Champions League campaign will not be crippled by a home-grown player quota, as first feared under their Financial Fair Play sanction.

City will only be able to name 21 players—rather than the standard 25—for the tournament next term after UEFA punished the club for failing to meet FFP measures.

It had been feared that eight of that 21-man squad must be home-grown, but Manchester Evening News' Stuart Brennan reports:

M.E.N. Sport understands that the Blues squeezed a concession out of Uefa and will be allowed 16 ‘free’ players and just five ‘home-grown’.

It explains why City have not made efforts to keep out-of-contract English players Joleon Lescott and Gareth Barry, while Micah Richards, Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair will leave.


Original Text

Following a lengthy investigation concerning possible breaches of Financial Fair Play regulations, the UEFA decided to penalise Manchester City on Friday with a €60million fine and a Champions League squad reduction, with a maximum of 21 players now set. 

The Times' Oliver Kay first reported the news:

The UEFA released a statement, via their website, clarifying €40 million of the €60 million fine is to be withheld conditionally, to be returned if the club can fulfill a number of measures the UEFA is pushing on them:

Manchester City agrees to significantly limit spending in the transfer market for seasons 2014/2015 and 2015/2016. Manchester City further accepts a calculated limitation on the number of new registrations it may include within their “A” List for the purposes of participation in UEFA competitions. This calculation is based on the clubs net transfer position in each respective registration period covered by this agreement.

Per Sky Sports News, the team's owners have decided not to appeal their punishment:

The Guardian's David Conn has more details on the specific breaches of FFP regulations, with the club reportedly recording £151 million in losses:

Kay also added this insight:

The fine, which converts to roughly £50 million, sets a new record as the largest fine ever handed out by UEFA. The Citizens were also not the only club under investigation, with Paris Saint-Germain and Zenit Saint Petersburg also facing FFP sanctions.

Press Association's Martyn Ziegler reports more on other teams facing a penalty as well.

According to ESPN FC's Jonathan Johnson, L'Equipe confirmed PSG were hit with the same punishment as City:

While some fans immediately questioned the size of the fine on social media, calling it far too little, it is important to note a £50 million fine is truly unprecedented. The UEFA are sending out a strong signal with these sanctions, indicating further breaches of FFP will not be tolerated.

Similarly, City's decision not to appeal could be seen by some as an admission of guilt, and a potential change of direction for the club that has become the face of a host of clubs financed by oil money.

A statement made in response to the sanctions on the team's website, however, paints a whole different picture:

The Club can confirm that it has been in discussions with UEFA over the last month - in relation to the application of Financial Fair Play regulations  - as has been widely reported and communicated by UEFA.   At the heart of those discussions is a fundamental disagreement between the Club’s and UEFA’s respective interpretations of the FFP regulations on players purchased before 2010.  The Club believes it has complied with the FFP regulations on this and all other matters. 

The statement echoes a sentiment shared by some of the team's fans, with a different interpretation of the rules at the core of the current problems.

Similarly, other fans have questioned the way the UEFA singled out teams like City and PSG, claiming FFP should target owners whose clubs aren't financially viable as opposed to City and PSG, whose owners simply spend a lot of money to make the UEFA's product more attractive.

Despite those arguments, City and PSG are in clear violations of rules set forth by Europe main governing body of the sport, and failure to comply with those rules will result in punishment.

City will now have a chance to implement several of the suggestions made by UEFA in an attempt to break even and recuperate the €40 million that is currently being withheld.

While a 21-man limit is small for a competition as large as the Champions League, the Citizens have enough quality to survive such limitations.

The UEFA took a clear stance against big-budget clubs living in violation of FFP regulations today, something which can only be applauded. Armed with the knowledge the UEFA are not afraid to act on violations, the clubs will think twice about spending recklessly in the future.


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