Manchester City has been banned from the Champions League for two seasons by UEFA on Friday, February 15, for “serious breaches” of spending rules and failing to cooperate with investigators in a seismic ruling against one of world football’s wealthiest clubs.
City were also fined 30 million euros ($33 million) after an investigation that was sparked by leaked internal correspondence showing that the club overstated sponsorship revenue and masked the source of revenue from deals to tied to the Gulf nation in a bid to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations.
The punishment prevents the Citizens from playing in any European competition, including the Europa League, until the 2022-23 season.
It could have a significant impact on the club’s ability to sign players and retain manager Pep Guardiola, whose contract expires after next season.
The verdict was delivered on Friday to the English Premier League champion following a hearing of UEFA’s club financial control body on Jan. 22.
“The adjudicatory chamber, having considered all the evidence, has found that Manchester City Football Club committed serious breaches of the UEFA club licensing and financial fair play regulations by overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016,” UEFA said in a statement.
Guardiola’s side will take on Real Madrid in the UCL round of 16 this month but would not get to defend the title if they lift the European Cup for the first time.