Manchester City have hit back at UEFA over leaks that suggest they could be banned from the Champions League.
A report overnight said UEFA investigators will push for them to be suspended from the competition over alleged breaches of Financial Fair Play regulations.
Insiders at UEFA believe any potential ban would not apply until the 2020-21 season because the process is ongoing but it could coincide with a FIFA transfer ban over the signing of under-18 players.
The investigatory chamber of UEFA’s financial control board have spent months examining evidence first uncovered in a series of leaks and reported by German publication Der Spiegel last year.
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And according to a report in the New York Times on Monday night a meeting two weeks ago at UEFA’s Swiss headquarters concluded with a desire to seek at least a one-season ban.
In December Sportsmail reported that City are facing a ban from Europe’s most prestigious competition amid claims that they inflated sponsorship deals seemingly to beat UEFA’s FFP system.
Among the reports, based on documents seized by Football Leaks, was a claim that City’s holding company paid £59.5million of Etihad’s annual sponsorship deal, with only £8m coming from the airline.
But City have fired back after the article in the New York Times. A spokesperson said: ‘Manchester City FC is fully cooperating in good faith with the CFCB IC’s ongoing investigation.
“In doing so the club is reliant on both the CFCB IC’s independence and commitment to due process; and on UEFA’s commitment of the 7th of March that it ‘….will make no further comment on the matter while the investigation is ongoing.”
“The New York Times report citing ‘people familiar with the case’ is therefore extremely concerning.
“The implications are that either Manchester City’s good faith in the CFCB IC is misplaced or the CFCB IC process is being misrepresented by individuals intent on damaging the club’s reputation and its commercial interests. Or both.
“Manchester City’s published accounts are full and complete and a matter of legal and regulatory record.
“The accusation of financial irregularities are entirely false, and comprehensive proof of this fact has been provided to the CFCB IC.”