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  • Roman Krome

Manchester City guilty of breaching Financial Fair Play rules




The football world was left in shock when UEFA announced in 2019 that Manchester City, the recent treble winner (winning three out of four possible trophies) and one of England's most successful clubs, having won the UEFA champions league just last Saturday, had been found guilty of breaking Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules. This article discusses the details of Manchester City's FFP rule breaches and their impact on English football.


Introduced by UEFA in 2011, Financial Fair Play was intended to ensure that clubs are reasonable with their finances, prevent reckless spending, and promote financial stability in European football. Under these regulations, clubs must limit their losses, and avoid gathering excessive debt.


In February 2020, the Chamber of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) found Manchester City guilty of serious breaches of FFP regulations. The club was accused of exaggerating sponsorship income in their accounts and not cooperating with the investigation. As a result, Manchester City was handed a two-year ban from UEFA club competitions and a €30 million fine, later reduced to €10 million on an appeal.


The key point of the investigation is the club's sponsorship deals and their legitimacy. UEFA claimed that Manchester City had artificially inflated their income by backdating sponsorship contracts and receiving money from their owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. This allowed the club to avoid FFP punishment and spend beyond their means.


While the UEFA ban was eventually overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on appeal, the entire thing discredited Manchester City's reputation and raised doubts about the club's financial uses. Some people argue that the ruling is indecisive and criticize the effectiveness of FFP regulations and say that the conflict is sending a message that powerful clubs could escape severe punishments.

The consequence of Manchester City's FFP rule breaches extended beyond their individual case. The surprising incident led to increased inspection of the financial uses of other top clubs, reawakening the debate on the effectiveness of FFP regulations in promoting fair competition. The incident also highlighted the growing differences in wealthy clubs and the rest of the teams, further underlining concerns about financial imbalances in English football. The actual punishments for Manchester City range from fines of huge amounts of money to points deductions and even expulsion from the Premier League. Any points deduction could be applied when the decision is made or the points will be deducted from previous seasons, raising the possibility of City being stripped of titles.

In response to the Manchester City case, UEFA has tried to tighten its regulations and close loopholes in FFP. The Governers introduced additional measures to prevent similar breaches in the future. However, many people believe the reformation has not gone far enough and that more needs to be done to even out the differences between wealthy clubs and less rich clubs.


The FFP rule breaches by Manchester City have definitely left a large impact on English football. While the club managed to escape severe penalties through successful legal appeals, the damage to their reputation remains.

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