City angered by further probe

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola being lifted by his players after retaining the Premier League title last Sunday. The club are facing a final judgment over allegations of misleading Uefa over Financial Fair Play. If found guilty, City could fac
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola being lifted by his players after retaining the Premier League title last Sunday. The club are facing a final judgment over allegations of misleading Uefa over Financial Fair Play. If found guilty, City could face a Champions League ban but they are expected to take their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Club referred to Uefa adjudicatory chamber over FFP irregularities, may appeal if guilty

LONDON • Manchester City yesterday hit out in a strongly worded statement after a Uefa probe into allegations of Financial Fair Play (FFP) irregularities was sent for a final judgment at European football's governing body.

The chairman and chief investigator of Uefa's Club Financial Control Body investigatory chamber, Yves Leterme, has concluded City have a case to answer and has referred the matter to the adjudicatory chamber, which will rule on the matter.

Members of the investigatory chamber are thought to have recommended a Champions League ban if the allegations of misleading Uefa over FFP are proved.

City, who have denied wrongdoing, expressed anger and are expected to take their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) if Uefa finds the club guilty.

An official statement read: "Manchester City is disappointed, but regrettably not surprised, by the sudden announcement of the referral to be made by the chief investigator Yves Leterme.

"The leaks to media over the last week are indicative of the process that has been overseen by Mr Leterme.

"Manchester City is entirely confident of a positive outcome when the matter is considered by an independent judicial body.

"The accusation of financial irregularities remains entirely false and the referral ignores a comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence provided by Manchester City.

"The decision contains mistakes, misinterpretations and confusions fundamentally borne out of a basic lack of due process."

The club have been facing allegations since November that they falsely declared as sponsorships worth millions of pounds that were in fact an investment from the club's owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi's ruling family.

The accusations are based on "leaked" internal City e-mails and other documents published by German magazine Der Spiegel.

Uefa's statement yesterday read: "The Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) chief investigator, after having consulted with the other members of the independent investigatory chamber of the CFCB, has today decided to refer Manchester City to the CFCB adjudicatory chamber following the conclusion of his investigation.

"The CFCB investigatory chamber had opened an investigation into Manchester City on March 7, 2019 for potential breaches of FFP regulations that were made public in various media outlets.

"Uefa will not be making any further comment on the matter."

No timescale has been put on when a verdict was expected.

DPA, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 17, 2019, with the headline 'City angered by further probe'. Print Edition | Subscribe