Manchester City has just been handed a 2-year ban from European club competitions, as well as a 30m euro (£25m) fine. UEFA has found the club guilty of breaching the club licensing and financial fair play regulations. How much will this impact the club, and will the manager and players be forced to leave?
Just to be clear, the ban will not immediately take effect. This means that Manchester City will still face Spanish side Real Madrid CF in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round-of-16 on February 26.
Man City manager Pep Guardiola had already hinted that his job might be in jeopardy if they fail to advance past the 13-time European Champions. With the ban in effect next season, City would have extra motivation to with the trophy this year. It would be a slap in the governing body's face if the defending champions end up being banned next year.
If they lose, Guardiola may not feel like getting sacked is such a bad thing. He's already won back-to-back Premier League titles with the club. Perhaps it's a good time to seek out a new challenge. The rumour mill is already buzzing about a possible move to Italian giants Juventus.
Meanwhile, what does this mean for the players? City might end up with a massive rebuilding mission. David Silva is already expected to leave at the end of the season. Striker Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane have contracts that expire in 2021, a full season before the ban ends. While many players in the roster have contracts that go beyond the ban period, the possibility of a Premier League points deduction will surely dampen the spirits of everyone in the club. The FA has similar financial fair play rules as UEFA and they might be found guilty of breaching domestic regulations as well. This could lead to a mass exodus.
What exactly have they been found guilty of? As explained by the BBC, Manchester City "concealed a number of payments. These were either made to individuals or to inflate sponsorship deals, which allowed the club to meet financial fair play regulations." The club maintains that they have been unfairly judged by UEFA, and they have vowed to lodge and appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.