Uefa’s chief financial investigator has confirmed Manchester City could face a Champions League ban over the alleged £60million payments deception revealed during the Football Leaks scandal.
Telegraph Sport first disclosed last month how European football’s governing body was considering a suspension against the Premier League champions over potential breaches in Financial Fair Play rules. Yves Leterme, the chairman and chief investigator of Uefa’s Club Financial Control Body, has now gone on record to confirm that the club face “the heaviest punishment” if the allegations are proven.
Senior Uefa officials – who previously launched sanctions against City in 2014 – are particularly enraged by leaked files from 2015, which claim almost £60million was paid directly into the club by their billionaire Arab owners but declared as sponsorship.
“If it is true what has been written, there might be a serious problem,” he says in an interview translated by German magazine Der Spiegel, which initially broke the Football Leaks scandal. “This can lead to the heaviest punishment: exclusion from the Uefa competitions.”
The revelation is particularly bad timing for City, coming just hours before the club take on Liverpool in their most important domestic match so far this season. The documents, allegedly obtained by illegal email hacks, were previously said to show £59.5million that was supposed to have come from City’s principal sponsor, Etihad Airways, was paid directly to the club by the Abu Dhabi United Group. To put that into context, City’s record signing is Riyad Mahrez, who cost £60million from Leicester City last season.