London, Feb 15: Premier League champions Manchester City have been banned from European competitions for the next two seasons and fined 30 million euros (32.5 million US dollars) by UEFA after being found guilty of "serious breaches" of UEFA's financial fair play rules.
In a statement confirming the decision on Friday, UEFA said, "having considered all the evidence, Manchester City Football Club committed serious breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations by overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016."
"The Adjudicatory Chamber has also found that in breach of the regulations the Club failed to cooperate in the investigation of this case by the independent Adjudicatory Chamber of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB)."
The decision by the European soccer governing body means the team coached by Pep Guardiola will be unable to play in either the Champions League or the Europa League in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons. UEFA said that the decision is open to appeal by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The reigning Premier League champions expressed their disappointment in a club statement on their website and said they will "pursue an impartial judgment as quickly as possible and will therefore, in the first instance, commence proceedings with the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the earliest opportunity."
Manchester City complained, "the UEFA Chief Investigator publicly previewed the outcome and sanction he intended to be delivered to Manchester City, before any investigation had even begun.
"The club has always anticipated the ultimate need to seek out an independent body and process to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence in support of its position. Simply put, this is a case initiated by UEFA, prosecuted by UEFA and judged by UEFA. With this prejudicial process now over, the club will pursue an impartial judgment as quickly as possible and will therefore, in the first instance, commence proceedings with the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the earliest opportunity," read the City statement.
UEFA made their decision public 12 days before Manchester City visit Real Madrid in the first leg of their last 16 tie for this season's Champions League. Meanwhile, the decision will also cast doubts on Guardiola's future at the club after this season's disappointing campaign and rumors of interest from Juventus in signing him for next season. (UNI)