A City fan’s take
I’m assuming the majority of my fellow City fans are going to be upset about the Champions League ban.
Part of this will be the natural tendency to defend our club, and part the disappointment at not being able to compete in the world’s most prestigious club competition. Part of it is also justified, in the sense that the Financial Fair Play rules are clearly skewed towards punishing clubs with certain business models, while letting scurrilous owners like the Glazers to carry on taking money out of the game while imperilling their club with huge debts.
But overall, City fans should accept this decision. We should welcome it.
Things have been good for the past few years. We’ve seen some of the world’s best players at City, some of whom have become club legends (Aguero, Kompany, Silva). The football under Pep has been breathtaking. We’ve won the league with a record points total, and a domestic treble. In a very competitive league, we’ve been the most successful club in English football for the past decade. We have vanquished the pain of my childhood by becoming so good while United have been so bad.
People running undemocratic countries where human rights abuses are endemic should not be allowed to whitewash their international reputations by buying an English football club. Yet we allowed this. We cheered along and closed our eyes to the uncomfortable truths.
And it’s not just the victims of the Abu Dhabi regime we should have been concerned about. The money poured into the club by our owners has distorted the game. We have been a major contributor to the inflation of transfer fees and wages, with massive clubs prospering while smaller clubs (including in our own city) go bust and fans are priced out of watching the sport.
It’s bad for the club, too. What we have under the current ownership regime can’t last. There is every possibility of Abu Dhabi’s ruling class being overthrown in the foreseeable future. Even if they aren’t, they could get bored of City, or simply face the reality that we aren’t ever going to become a profitable global corporation. Our club is a sham, and it’s unsustainable. What heppens when it ends, when we’ve hired players we can’t afford to pay and built stadium and training facilities we can’t use?
Whether or not our lawyers find technicalities to overturn or reduce this ban, this is the moment we should all finally realise this needs to stop. The FFP rules may be flawed (as is UEFA, their enforcer), but they were clearly designed to stop owners pouring money into clubs in a way that distorts the game and is unsustainable for the club. Which is exactly what our owners have been doing. Fans of other clubs may be hypocritical when they say this about us, but that doesn’t mean they are wrong.
This is not a call for a return to the relative misery of the 1990s. Things were fun then – anyone who thinks QPR in 2012 was better than Gillingham in 1999 is an idiot. But that decade was a historical low ebb for us, and there’s no reason to think it always needs to be like that. We’d already turned things around in the 2000s while owned by a couple of local businessmen. City is a big club, and well placed to compete at the upper levels of the English game most of the time. Let’s have that, rather than the shame of what we’ve become.
The ban and what next?
No doubt your mailbox will be flooded with “Citeh LOL” mails, but a simple question. If they were cheating, ostensibly since at least Pep started coaching them (or consistently since 2014), but at least the last season or two, and they are now being punished for what they did in the past, should the EPL not strip them of their league titles?
Even if they wouldn’t transfer those titles to the teams in second place, which would give United and Liverpool EPL wins, I fail to see how City’s cheating didn’t also benefit, and thus invalidate, their League Championships, and ultimately the domestic treble.
Continuing with that thought, would they be allowed to keep the trophies from anything they win this year? Does Villa get a free Carabao Cup? If they were to win the Champions League or FA Cup, would they be allowed to get those? Would they further be allowed to participate in the Community Shield, Supercup, and Club World Cup ( I feel these last two would be a resounding NO)? And what does it say about the consequence of cheating if you don’t strip them of trophies? As bad as the Olympics are with cheaters, at least they will strip a medal from someone, even if they are found out a decade later. It may not make up for the lost revenue to the athlete that was cheated, but I’d still rather have my medal upgraded, even if it were in a closet somewhere, with no fanfare or monetary reparations.
Jacques, Oxford (has a trophy ever been taken away from anyone, or is that a particularly “American” thing to do?)
…As football fans we can rejoice at Man City finally being brought to account, but sadly it’s been too long in coming and the cheating has already been rewarded with success.
May I remind everyone that according to the 2019 football rich list Man City is 5th globally, ahead of Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea! Did they think we were all stupid? How has the club achieved this? Gate receipts? Unlikely, it’s a small proportion of overall revenue for clubs these days and they don’t call it the Emptihad for nothing. Shirt sales? Again unlikely since this is still a locally oriented club with no global fanbase (yet). On field success? Domestically yes, but the real money is in the Champions League, where success has been illusive.
The authorities’ findings clearly reveal that, in fact, its coming from inflated commercial contracts with Abu Dhabi and illegal, undisclosed, off balance payments to circumvent established rules of the game.
What’s most interesting to me is what happens next. If the FA/PL choose to act it seems obvious that a Saracens style relegation will follow. But are criminal charges also appropriate? Fraudulent representation to the regulator? Tax evasion if secret payments to staff and others didn’t attract the correct tax treatment? Are we stepping into money laundering territory?
It’s a fascinating case. While sovereign states may be above the law in their own territories it’s heartening to know this is not the case elsewhere. It’s just sad for everyone that the damage has already been done, especially to the PL where trophies have been stolen over the last few years, and to Man City fans who will be forced to try to somehow rationalise all this.
Mark, LFC, Hong Kong
…Man City have been blessed. With the champions league ban, they have now gotten the perfect excuse. They do not have to worry anymore about being hyped as favorites anymore before being dumped out in the quarter finals every season. Now they can say “oh but we are not even in it so you can’t make fun of us for spending a billion pounds and never even looked close to winning it”.
…Considering the catastrophic impact of a mere 5 year ban on English clubs as a whole (post Heysel) given their previous unparalleled dominance (7/9 wins pre ban vs 2/19 post ban) from European Cup, how bad might this ban be for Manchester City considering shortened attention spans amongst spectators, sponsors, and players/managers?
Everyone already doubted Pep’s commitment given his career history, while Raheem was (for best reasons) frequently mentioned in terms of possibly wanting a new challenge/higher profile.
De Bruyne could also walk into either team from the only 2 genuinely permanent superclubs (Real+Barca) if he wanted to.
This ruling could potentially negate Pep’s achievements and immediately demote City to current Arsenal or Man Utd status.
tl;dr Phil Foden is finally gonna get the game time we’ve all been hoping for.
…”Simply put, this is a case initiated by UEFA, prosecuted by UEFA and judged by UEFA.” For those of us who didn’t see the news last night, Man City summed up its case against the decision to ban them from Europe for 2 years with that sentence.
I’m wondering who Man City think should have initiated the case, prosecuted the case, and judge the case, given that it relates to the UEFA laws which govern UEFA competitions. A district attorney from Alabama? The Chinese government? The UN? Sheikh Mansour?
Greg, Taunton (If that’s the best they can do, they should just save their money and time and not bother with an appeal.)
…Intrigued to hear from City fans explaining how a provincial club which can’t fill their stadium posts income revenue far outstripping decades long established elite clubs.
Advertisers obviously want to associate themselves with brands (sorry) which reach huge audiences. How then can City justify their record breaking advertising income when the reach will be so limited?
James Outram, Wirral
…So does anyone still think net spend isn’t important?
Colin (it will probably be cut to a year though), Hampshire
…So I guess there are now two things that might stop Messi from joining City now…
Brian Clancy, Spurs, Vancouver.
…Looking forward to City’s ban being downgraded to the footballing equivalent of a slap on the wrist. That’ll teach them.
The financial dopers never suffer the consequences of their actions.
Matt Wright, Gunner in Aus.
Is everyone at it?
Obviously will be a lot of mails about City but….
Man City , Houston Astros , New England Patriots , Australian cricket team , Russian athletes , Saracens and virtually any Tour de France winner…..
This is just sad …. the question has to be asked … Who isn’t cheating ?
DL , LFC , Geneva
Over to you, Pep
People ofton ask how Pep would cope operating in a smaller set up without out a certain “monopoly” over the league. If this ban stands and with the average age of the current squad, I think if he sticks about and transitions this team on a budget we’ll have an answer.
…Pep, surely it’s time to go home? Barca needs you more than ever. This is a sign from the stars (or UEFA, depending on how you choose to interpret it).
And if Arsenal draw 5 more games this season, can F365 create a new section between Winners and Losers to commemorate their achievement?
Vivek, Football fan, Bangalore (Is it wrong for a country to spend some of its GDP trying to win the Champions League?)
Shame on us
So Der Spiegel’s work ended up with City getting a two season ban (pending appeal).
What have you done F365? Nothing! NOTHING!
Suds, Durban, SA (Someone please do something about PSG)
Blades on tour
I hope people don’t overlook the fact that City’s ban means 5th place will qualify for Champions League now. That could be Sheffield United,Wolves or EVEN a team as bad as Man Utd.
Michael (PNE and St Albans City) Herts
Big Six dominance
Interesting view from Micki about how we don’t have a dominant Big 6 hoovering up all the cash.
20 Teams in the Prem, each get £79m just for turning up, Prize money is between £2m (Huddersfield) and £38m (City)
4 Teams in the Champions League, you’ll get 35m Euros just for getting out of the group stage and about 100m Euros for winning the thing.
40 out of 41 spots for the Champions League have been taken by the Big 6 over the last decade.
We really do have a Big 6 and they do get all the money (from the Champions League), it really doesn’t matter if you’re not winning the League, just keep qualifying for the Top 4.
(I know they can’t all do it in the same year)
…I’m sure you are going to get a lot of emails on Man City and the rights and wrongs of FFP.
I want to quickly point out that FFP is working very well for what it was meant for.
Since FFP was introduced only 7 clubs have gone into administration. This was 9 years ago. I the preceding 9 years before it was introduced 29 clubs went into administration!
Is the rule perfect? Not necessarily. But it’s saving a lot of clubs from being managed badly and ending up in dire straits. And I can only applaud that.
Nishul, London (now if only they could put in a rule that stops leveraged takeovers such as those the Glazers did in 2005]
Best keepers ever
A bit off topic, but the recent piece on replacing De Gea with Henderson got me thinking.
Even if, hypothetically speaking, United were to cash in, who would be willing to take him? Look at the top teams with absolutely classy stoppers, not one of them necessarily needs replacing.
Liverpool, City, Madrid, Milan, PSG, Inter, Juve, Barca, Spurs and Bayern all have phenomenal keepers in place already. Which leads to my question:
Is this the best batch of goalkeepers in football history? Normally one or two stand out from the rest, but it’s the first time I can recall where ALL major sides have a phenomenal keeper who would slot into the others team seamlessly.
Klopp’s next gig
Nah, Klopp isn’t going to leave Liverpool for Bayern, he is going back to Dortmund at the end of the season. They have the makings of a great team, and unfortunately Favre has a record of not getting the final 5% from teams he has built. So young exciting team needs an inspirational leaded to dominate German football, Klopp is on the way!! ;-)) And he has some unfinished business there too.
Mel – Dublin, Berlin, Athlone Town HaHoHe