Report: Manchester City at risk of 1-year Champions League ban
Manchester City FC / Getty

Investigators are expected to ask UEFA to ban Manchester City from European competition for at least one season after concluding the club provided false and misleading statements regarding Financial Fair Play violations, people with knowledge of the situation told The New York Times' Tariq Panja.

Suggestions that City had breached Financial Fair Play - which prohibits teams from spending more than they make - intensified in November when German newsmagazine Der Spiegel published internal documents showing potential collusion and malfeasance.

City has denied any wrongdoing.

It's alleged that Abu Dhabi owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan and his underlings fudged accounts and used clandestine financial vehicles to funnel money into the club and that Gianni Infantino, then UEFA general secretary, turned a blind to their repeated infractions.

The investigatory chamber of UEFA's Club Financial Control Body launched formal proceedings in March.

City responded to the allegations on Tuesday:

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 (is) entirely false, and comprehensive proof of this fact has been provided to the CFCB IC.

The investigators' recommendation stems from the suspicion that City provided misleading information about their sponsorship agreements, according to Panja, and not from allegations of financial wrongdoing.

City's testimony didn't convince members of UEFA's financial control board during a meeting last month in Switzerland, a source told Panja.

However, UEFA's control, ethics, and disciplinary arm must first agree with the findings of its investigative team - led by the former prime minister of Belgium - before a ban can be implemented.

Talk of disciplinary action comes just a day after City won a second consecutive Premier League title. They achieved the feat with one of the most expensive squads ever assembled.

City were fined £49 million in 2014 for breaching Financial Fair Play rules and forced to reduce their squad for the 2014-15 season. UEFA partially refunded the club in 2017 after confirming it had complied with the sanctions.

Report: Manchester City at risk of 1-year Champions League ban
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