An investigation into accusations that Premier League champion Manchester City misled European soccer’s financial regulators in pursuit of its success on the field is expected to recommend that the team be barred from the Champions League, European soccer’s richest competition and the trophy the club covets most.
English soccer authorities and officials at UEFA, European soccer’s governing body and the organizer of the Champions League, have for months been investigating Manchester City amid allegations of rule-breaking revealed in damaging leaks over much of the past year. Members of the investigatory chamber of UEFA’s financial control board, a group set up to analyze the accounts of clubs suspected of breaking strict cost-control regulations, met two weeks ago in Nyon, Switzerland, to finalize their conclusions.
The investigatory panel’s leader, the former prime minister of Belgium Yves Leterme, will have the final say on the submission to a separate adjudicatory chamber, which could be filed as soon as this week. The body is expected to seek at least a one-season ban.
Even the suggestion of a ban would be a stinging rebuke for Manchester City and its Gulf owners, who celebrated a fourth Premier League title in eight seasons on Sunday. They long have sought to add the Champions League — club soccer’s top prize — to the club’s growing haul of domestic trophies, and any effort to bar the team is likely to spark a monumental legal fight.