Manchester City have released a strongly worded statement criticising claims made in an American newspaper that investigators are pushing for the club to get a ban from the Champions League.
Financial irregularities are currently being investigated by the Investigative Committee of UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) but City fear that members of the committee could be leaking to the press:
“Manchester City FC is fully cooperating in good faith with the CFCB IC’s 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 the 7 of March THAT it ‘….will make no further comment on the matter while the investigation is ongoing.'”
“The New York Times report citing ‘people familiar with the case’ is therefore extremely concerning. The implications are that either Manchester City’s good faith in the CFCB IC is misplaced or the CFCB IC process is being misrepresented by individuals intent on damaging the Club’s reputation and its commercial interests. Or both.”
“Manchester City’s published accounts are full and complete and a matter of legal and regulatory record. The accusation of financial irregularities are entirely false, and comprehensive proof of this fact has been provided to the CFCB IC.”
A BBC report suggests that a decision by UEFA over City’s case is likely to be made this week, with a one-year ban from European competition an option that is on the table.
City are reportedly prepared to fight any potential ban with the club believed to be ready to go to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) if they are indeed punished for breaching Financial Fair Play regulations.
City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham have qualified automatically for next season’s Champions League, while Arsenal could also join them if they win the Europa League at the end of the month.