The recent decision of the independent Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) could spell the end of the English Premiership soccer club Manchester City’s as one of Europe’s top-flight teams.
According to the (CFCB), Manchester City FC overinflated a revenue deal when submitting paperwork to the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). To put it simply, they stated that the revenue from the sponsorship deal was greater than it was. They submitted this information to the break-even section on UEFA’s various forms.
As a result, UEFA has decided to ban the club from Champions League competition. Here, Europe’s top domestic teams compete to win one of soccer’s most lucrative trophies. This ban will potentially lose Manchester City around $80m USD and potentially far more in TV rights, sponsor deals and merchandise sales. And this is why this could be the end of Manchester City as a top-flight English club.
Possible Point Deduction
The ruling also violates the English Football Association rules which could see a point loss. This would considerably affect their Premier League prize money, delivering another financial blow.
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City, whose season has been disastrous by their terms has seen it get worse. Their future seasons will also be adversely affected.
So why does this spell the end for City?
Premiership Clubs as a Business and the Playground for Billionaires
Football Clubs in England may have at one time been a representation about where peopleare from. The clubs grew from nothing and grew with the sport of soccer. Although this still exists to a certain degree, the fact is that many clubs are now commercial businesses whose success dictates share price, investment, and indeed support internationally.
They can and have been bought and sold. Manchester City’s success is fuelled by corporate consortiums based outside of England. Many of the people involved may have heard of the city of Manchester, but few have actually set foot in it.
In 1995 Blackburn Rovers won the Premier League after owner Jack Walker pumped millions into the club. Russian Billionaire Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea and with it success. The English league like others across the world, has become a billionaire playground.
When clubs are bought and sold by people with no affinity to the club, it is just an investment, a bit of sport. If the investment turns bad, they pull out with no sense of responsibility to the club, fans, or wider league.
Prior to their first Premier League trophy win in 2014 Manchester City were a mediocre club. They were like many teams they weren’t the worst but far from the best. They had no real investment and sometimes were relegated out of the top-flight league.
Then came the investment. Money poured into the club from all sides, and now Manchester City is one of the world’s richest teams. This could all change now, due to the ruling. The club will no doubt suffer:
- Loss of share price
- Top-flight talent leave
- Unable to attract talent
- Loose standing on the world stage
- Loose club merchandise sales
- Loose future revenue if they can’t compete with top-flight clubs
- Possible financial hardship if investors look to sell the club to cut losses
Flight of Manchester City’s Talent
Although the English Premiership like other big leagues attracts the best talent in the world at every level, this does have a downside. Club loyalty which was significant before the formation of the Premier League, has effectively evaporated.
Players and managers are drawn by the big paycheck and a chance to win trophies. The Manchester City first team has among it the finest players in the world, and arguably one of the best managers in the form of Pep Guardiola. None of these players was born in Manchester and if a big money move to another top European side means they can compete in the Champions League who would blame them for making the leap? It is just the way the sport is at the moment.
Once the talent goes, replacing it is going to be hard. If the financial investors behind Manchester City want to continue investing in the club, then City may have a chance. They might, however, decide its time to pull out and sell the club at a rock bottom price and pump their investment elsewhere.
Manchester City’s worsening troubles could not have come at a worse time. They are effectively out of the Premiership title race, and if they are deducted points, this will only compound matters.
The club has put on a brave face saying they’ll take it in their stride. Without investment, talent, and everything else that goes along with it, it is hard to see Manchester City surviving.