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SBD Global/May 7, 2014/Finance

Man City Reportedly Will Challenge UEFA On Fine, Player Reductions For FFP Violations

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Man City has reportedly rejected UEFA's proposed FFP sanctions.
Tensions "are rising" between Man City and UEFA after the club "rejected proposed sanctions including a huge fine and a reduction to the size of their Champions League squad," according to Oliver Kay of the LONDON TIMES. UEFA has proposed that Man City, along with Ligue 1 Paris St. Germain and a handful of other clubs, "agree to a heavy fine -- reported to be a staggering" €60M ($84M) over three years in Man City’s case and "a reduction to the number of players they can register for next season’s Champions League following their failure to meet break-even requirements." PSG is "understood to be on the verge of a settlement." However, Man City has "so far rejected" UEFA’s proposals as talks continue. A proposed reduction in its Champions League squad, reported to be from 25 players to 21 players, "would severely affect City’s prospects of competing in the tournament, particularly since eight of those 21 players would have to qualify as 'homegrown'" (LONDON TIMES, 5/6). In London, Ben Rumsby reported the parties "are so far apart" that Man City is "in danger of being the only one of nine clubs facing punishment who choose to fight on beyond Friday’s deadline and take their chances" with the Club Financial Control Body’s adjudicatory chamber. That chamber "would assess afresh" whether the club failed to comply with FFP rules in their '11-13 accounts and, if so, "would likely impose an even sterner penalty." Man City is "understood to be upset at being placed in a similar bracket by the investigatory chamber as Paris St Germain." Man City CEO Ferran Soriano "has desperately attempted to argue that the two teams’s breaches are of an entirely different magnitude." Soriano, answerable to Man City Owner Sheikh Mansour for any FFP failure, "has claimed that his club should be treated more leniently because they made every effort to comply by legitimate means, while PSG did not" (TELEGRAPH, 5/6). The PA's Martyn Ziegler reported UEFA "has said it is still to be decided what will happen with any money raised from fines for FFP breaches." The fines "will not count against a club's losses for future FFP calculations, meaning they can be paid directly by club owners" (PA, 5/6). REUTERS' Keith Weir reported UEFA and PSG "declined to comment on the reports," while Man City "could not immediately be reached for comment." If the sanctions are not tough enough, rival clubs "are likely to complain that UEFA has failed the first serious test of its new FFP regime while many observers question the logic of fining mega-rich clubs for spending too much money" (REUTERS, 5/6).

CRUCIAL WEEK: In London, Owen Gibson wrote "standing alone among 236 clubs" is how Man City is "likely to be characterised" by UEFA if they fail to agree to the sanctions. It is "not exactly the image" Sheikh Mansour "was hoping for" when he bought the club five years ago and "promised to make it a footballing powerhouse." It leaves title-chasing Man City "facing a crucial week both on and off the pitch" (GUARDIAN, 5/6). In London, Oliver Kay wrote "there is certainly plenty to be said for a regulation that clips the wings of City and Paris Saint-Germain," but only if that comes as part of a wider campaign "to address the terrible inequalities that have built up in European football during the Champions League era." UEFA has permitted, a landscape in which, for example, Greek and Scottish football are dominated by one or two clubs, but in which Olympiacos and Celtic, or indeed Benfica or Ajax, have little prospect of competing with the ruling elite in the Champions League (LONDON TIMES, 5/7).
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