Man City face Champions League ban for FFP breach after ‘hiding millions’ to bend rules

MANCHESTER CITY face a Champions League BAN for alleged Financial Fair Play breaches.

Pep Guardiola’s Prem champs are accused of hiding millions in funding to get round tough Uefa transfer rules.

Man City face Champions League ban for FFP breach after ‘hiding millions’ to bend rulesAFP or licensors5 Pep Guardiola's Man City could be banned from next season's Champions League
Man City face Champions League ban for FFP breach after ‘hiding millions’ to bend rulesReuters5 It's claimed Sheikh Mansour provided most of the club's sponsorship money

Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin revealed City would discover “very soon” what potential punishment awaits.

And the ban would be imposed as soon as next season.

Senior figures in Uefa believe “sporting sanctions” are the only suitable rap for what is seen as deliberate strategy of flouting the regulations.

The source said: “You can’t hit a club like City with a fine. It has to be something that hurts.

Man City face Champions League ban for FFP breach after ‘hiding millions’ to bend rulesManchester City FC5 Sheikh Mansour, right, pictured alongside manager Pep Guardiola, has overseen a staggering rise at Manchester City

“That means sporting sanctions. Manchester City were punished once before — and that did not stop them. Now it has to be another step up.”

If City were banned, their Champions League spot would be handed to the fifth-placed side.

Bans for FFP breaches have been imposed in the past, with Turkish giants Galatasaray being slapped with a one-year suspension in 2016.

Last month’s Football Leaks document revelations suggested City had hidden the true source of up to 80 per cent of annual “sponsorship” money from Gulf-based companies.

Cash from Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi-based investment company Aabah were declared as worth £82m in 2015.

The documents, though, suggest they were actually worth just £11m, with the shortfall made up by Abu Dhabi United Group — run by Sheikh Mansour and the club’s owners.

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Man City face Champions League ban for FFP breach after ‘hiding millions’ to bend rulesEPA5 Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin said Man City will be likely be punished soon

City are also accused of setting up a shell company, also directly funded by Abu Dhabi United Group, to meet the image rights scheme for players — wiping £40m off the wage bill and allowing them to meet FFP rules.

In 2014, City were initially fined £49m and ordered to operate with a 21-man Champions League squad as part of a “settlement” deal with Uefa.

But Football Leaks also revealed this compromise was brokered by ex-Uefa general secretary — now Fifa boss — Gianni Infantino after City threatened a legal war.

Three weeks ago, Uefa announced it was prepared to re-open the cases against City, both relating to events before the 2014 deal and subsequently.

At a news conference in Dublin, Ceferin said: “We are assessing the situation. We have an independent body working on it.

Man City face Champions League ban for FFP breach after ‘hiding millions’ to bend rulesAFP or licensors5 It is alleged Man City hid millions used to fund big-name signings

“Very soon you will have an answer on what will happen in this concrete case.”

Uefa chiefs have come under pressure from City’s main European rivals to come down hard on the Etihad outfit.

In a statement confirming the potential new charges last month, Uefa said: “FFP relies on the co-operation of clubs to declare a complete and genuine financial position.

“Uefa relies on information being fair and accurate reflections of a club’s finances.

“Should new information suggest previously-concluded cases have been abused, those cases may be capable of being re-opened as determined on a case-by-case basis.”

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