Premier League winners, Manchester City’s celebrations have been stopped on its track as Uefa financial investigators are reportedly expected to press ahead with recommendations for a Champions Leaue ban withing the next week.
Yves Leterme, the chairman and chief investigator of Uefa’s club financial control body, has been leading the review into evidence surrounding an alleged £60million payments deception detailed during the Football Leaks scandal last autumn.
City were accused of “several alleged violations” of FFP regulations when Uefa announced its formal investigation in March.
It is understood they will call for action and recommend a season’s ban for the Premier League champions.
That punishment could open the door for fifth-placed Arsenal to be handed a Champions League place even if they lose the Europa League Final to Chelsea.
Telegraph Sport disclosed in January how European football’s governing body was considering a suspension against the Premier League champions over potential breaches in Financial Fair Play rules. City deny any wrongdoing.
The New York Times now reports that investigation will conclude this week or next week, and is set to recommend a ban from the Champions League of at least one season.
The investigatory chamber is said to have finalised its conclusions two weeks ago in Nyon, Switzerland. A Uefa spokesman said it was unable to comment on a live investigation.
Leterme said in February that the club faced “the heaviest punishment” if the allegations were proven. Senior Uefa officials – who previously launched sanctions against City in 2014 – are particularly enraged by leaked files from 2015, which claim almost £60million was paid directly into the club by their billionaire Arab owners but declared as sponsorship.
“If it is true what has been written, there might be a serious problem,” Leterme said in an interview translated by German magazine Der Spiegel, which initially broke the Football Leaks scandal. “This can lead to the heaviest punishment: exclusion from the Uefa competitions.”
The documents, allegedly obtained by illegal email hacks, were previously said to show £59.5 million that was supposed to have come from City’s principal sponsor, Etihad Airways, was paid directly to the club by the Abu Dhabi United Group. To put that into context, City’s record signing is Riyad Mahrez, who cost £60 million from Leicester City last season.
– Telegraph Sport
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