There will not be much sympathy for Manchester City in football. They misled UEFA and its Club Financial Control Body.
They inflated figures, deceived over revenue streams, and the size of their punishment, the suspension from European competition, the fine of £25million, is confirmation of the gravity of this offence.
If this case is proven after appeal, City did wrong, that is unarguable. Yet they did wrong in the face of rules that are there to protect a privileged elite; put in place to prevent unexpected journeys to the top of football’s pyramid. You know, the interesting stuff.
There will be little sympathy for Manchester City following their Champions League ban
Financial Fair Play was corrupted from birth and is designed to protect a privileged elite
It is possible to acknowledge City’s wrongdoing but still hold nothing but contempt for the system that has found them guilty. For the secret briefings, the pressure placed on UEFA to ring-fence their primary competition for the select few.
Financial Fair Play was corrupted from birth by those at the top, warped into the most naked protectionism. It was supposed to be about debt, but ended up placing limitations on owner investment. A club loaded with debt, like Manchester United, is fully compliant; a club without debt, like City, is not.
The money City threw at their project initially was to try to get inside football’s fancy castle before the establishment upped the drawbridge.
Leicester are a much better run club than Manchester United, but United can still sweep up their best players each summer. Harry Maguire last year, in all likelihood James Maddison in a few months’ time.
Why? Financial fair play. That’s how it works. It is intended to cement a handful of elite clubs in place and shut the rest outside, unable to grow, to present a sustained challenged, even if they want to or are successful. Fairness is just the sell. Don’t be fooled. It was never meant to be fair.
A club loaded with debt, like Manchester United, is fully compliant; a club without debt, like City, is not
It's no wonder that David Gill and his allies graft so hard in UEFA's corridors of power
Consider the models of Manchester City and Manchester United, the way those clubs are run, the investment in infrastructure, in the local area, the women’s game, consider the quality of the football, the comparative success recently.
What’s the better football club? The one that faces a two-year ban from Europe, or the one that stands to benefit from their absence?
No wonder David Gill and his allies graft so hard in those corridors of power, no wonder Ed Woodward devotes his time to the executive board of the European Clubs Association. Ferran Soriano, chief executive officer of Manchester City, thought he was in line for a place within the ECA.
Then there was a little pushback and suddenly he wasn’t, unlike board members at United, Arsenal and Liverpool — the traditional red alliance that controls English football, and holds meetings to which rivals are not invited.
United and Liverpool even got to vet Richard Scudamore’s successor at the Premier League, it is claimed. It seems some clubs really are more equal than others.
Manchester City will now take their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the first time it is to be heard by a body not linked to UEFA. European football’s rulers brought this case, heard this case, and have now passed sentence.
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Manchester United and Liverpool got to vet Richard Scudamore’s successor at the Premier League, it is claimed
At CAS a list of independent arbiters will be provided with City choosing one,