Manchester City could be banned from European competition as soon as next season if allegations of them breaking financial fair play rules turn out to be true.
There's no arguing that if a club has money in the soccer world, it has an advantage over a lot of its rivals. There are exceptions but for the most part, money will often win you trophies. The likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United, and Juventus. All clubs with a lot of financial clout which they can use to tempt the world's best players to play for them.
It can be extremely frustrating for clubs that are not as well-off and their fans. That's why a few years ago, UEFA introduced some financial fair play (FFP) rules in an attempt to make the playing field more even. What clubs have to be able to prove under FFP rules is that they have broken even over the course of a season.
Fans likely look at some clubs and wonder how on Earth they are breaking even. Take Manchester City, for example. The defending Premier League champions don't seem to have reigned in their spending whatsoever. That must mean the club is bringing in more money than ever. Recent accusations made by German magazine Der Spiegel claim that is not the case, and that City has been inflating the amount it is bringing in via sponsorship.
As reported by Sky Sports, exaggerating how much the club is making via sponsorship deals would balance the books. If the accusations turn out to be true, UEFA will likely enforce a ban on Manchester City from the Champions League and all other European competitions. The ban could come into force as early as the 2019/20 season. If City is banned, the team that finishes fifth in the Premier League could qualify for the Champions League next season.
If Manchester City is caught out by the FFP rules it won't be the first time. In 2014, the club was fined $62 million for breaking them. There is also precedent for a team being banned from European competitions for breaking FFP rules. Turkish side Galatasaray had to sit out for a season for doing exactly that.