In Depth

Man City face FFP sanctions – have Uefa missed their target?

City confident of avoiding punishment amid calls for Uefa to target irresponsible owners

MANCHESTER CITY and French giants Paris Saint-Germain could face transfer bans for breaching Uefa's Financial Fair Play regulations as European football's governing body decides which clubs should be punished for overspending. City have one of the most expensive squads in world football thanks to billionaire owner Sheikh Mansour, but they have also recorded losses of £150m over the last two years and, according to the Daily Telegraph, "will this week be found guilty of failing to comply with FFP rules". Uefa officials are meeting this week to decide which clubs should be prosecuted. "City and PSG are understood to be among fewer than 20 teams under threat of a sanction and, unless dramatic new evidence emerges in the next 48 hours to support their claims they have played by the rules, they are on course to be hit hardest of all," says the paper. Neither side will be excluded from the Champions League, but they could heavy face fines or a transfer embargo. None of the other English clubs in Europe this season are under scrutiny says The Times. But it notes that Liverpool could be investigated when they return to the continent next season. The paper also adds that City are confident of proving that their finances are in order even though it looks like a "clear cut case" on paper. City can write off money paid in wages to players signed before 2010, as well as significant sums for stadium infrastructure and youth development work, and that leaves the balance sheet far closer to the Uefa loss limit of £37m than it would appear at first blush. And if City do face sanctions, it could be argued that Uefa have missed their target, says Jim White in the Telegraph. He agrees that "European competition should be about clubs vying for prominence, not an opportunity for states like Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Malaysia to achieve importance by proxy", but he adds that "City's Abu Dhabi overlords present the most benevolent of proprietorial models". They have invested heavily in the club infrastructure and have established a base that should ensure ongoing success for the Citizens, he says. The game needs more robust rules on club ownership rather than finances. "The urgency surely is that [the rules] are directed at preventing criminals like Carson Yeung taking over at Birmingham City, or stopping a succession of asset strippers picking at the decaying corpse of Leeds United, or thwarting the faceless crew who have recklessly undermined Portsmouth."  

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