The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) declared on Friday it has banned Manchester City from European competitions for two seasons for “serious breaches” of financial regulations. The club, last year’s champion of the English Premier League, was also fined 30 million euros ($33 million) by UEFA.
The organization declared that the club “committed serious breaches” of UEFA’s licensing rules and Financial Fair Play Regulations, including “overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts” for five years. Manchester City, also known as “Man City,” has the right to appeal the ban.
“Manchester City is disappointed but not surprised by today’s announcement by the UEFA Adjudicatory Chamber,” the club said in a statement. The club also sharply criticized UEFA’s investigative process in its statement, saying the process was “flawed and consistently leaked,” so “there was little doubt in the result.”
UEFA’s ruling would prevent Man City from playing in any European tournaments until the 2022-2023 season. The club is currently competing in UEFA’s Champions League, which is the highest profile tournament in professional football, and second overall to only the World Cup.
Man City is estimated to be the fifth most valuable football (soccer) team in the world at $2.7 billion, according to Forbes in 2019. The club is owned by City Football Group, a holding company of Abu Dhabi United Group, which is a private equity firm owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and member of the Abu Dhabi royal family.
Sheikh Mansour, worth an estimated $22 billion, is the half brother of UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Mansour bought Man City in 2008 for a reported £210 million — or roughly $273 million based on current exchange rates. In total, Mansour has invested more than $1.7 billion into the club, according to the Guardian.
Man City has been consistently one of the top spenders among the wealthy English clubs, shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars to build an international roster of superstar players. City’s manager Pep Guardiola is also the highest paid manager in the world, according to beIN Sports, with a contract for $25 million a year.
City Football Group in November sold a 10% stake to U.S. private equity firm Silver Lake, which BBC reported gave Mansour’s holding company a $4.8 billion valuation.