Manchester City has been suspended from the UEFA Champions League for two seasons in an ongoing investigation into the club’s financial dealings.
Manchester City was also fined €25 million ($29.2 million), the Financial Times reported, for breaking financial fair play regulations, which prohibit clubs in the top flight of European soccer from spending more on players than they earn in total for the three seasons ending with the 2012-13 season.
The sanction comes from an investigation by European soccer’s governing body into Manchester City’s ties with Abu Dhabi United Group, the group that owns the English club.
UEFA investigated Manchester City after a series of turbulent financial dealings between the club and City Football Group in which both clubs came under scrutiny.
UEFA has leveled more than €20 million in fines and suspended competitions against Manchester City in past years for “financial irregularities,” including the ban on signing Spanish youngster Alvaro Negredo in 2011. Manchester City has also been linked to a series of bribery investigations.
In 2012, UEFA sanctioned Manchester City as well as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Ajax after investigators discovered that clubs involved in the playoffs for Champions League places had received payments from a Spanish fund in which Neymar, the current Brazilian player, was involved. UEFA has also begun moving up the English Premier League playoffs by a week, which will cost several teams revenue.
In 2006, City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson was arrested in a bribery probe connected to a civil case over water supplies in his native Sweden, while City was fined for alleged tax fraud in 2010 and banned from signing certain players from Russia in 2011.
Manchester City holds a 51.35 percent stake in Manchester City Football Group, the group’s holding company. The other 51.35 percent is owned by Etihad Airways.
The penalties, UEFA said, would not affect the club’s sports activities, “especially in terms of potential investment in more leading positions in various sports fields and participation in UEFA-sponsored events.”
Manchester City is in the Champions League in the current season, but it’s been eliminated in the first round of this year’s competition. The club’s next match is Saturday in the FA Cup against Leicester City.