Man City could be ‘kicked out of Champions League’ thanks to Arsenal and Liverpool
Manchester City are being forced to consider the prospect of being kicked out of the Champions League
Manchester City continue their defence of the Champions League tonight in their last 16 tie with Copenhagen, but worries will remain inside the club over the prospect of being banned from the competition next year as a result of Girona’s success in La Liga.
Girona have been this year’s surprise package in Spain, storming to a title challenge before their 4-0 defeat at Real Madrid on Saturday left them five points behind Carlo Ancelotti’s leaders. They do remain five points clear of third-placed Barcelona, however.
City Football Group purchased a 44.3 per cent stake in Girona in 2017, which has since been increased to 47 per cent. UEFA rules do not permit two clubs owned by the same body to compete in the same European competition, casting doubt on both teams’ involvement next year.
They are on course to qualify for the Champions League and current regulations state that only the highest-placed team in the respective divisions will be allowed to compete. Girona are on course to finish second and while Pep Guardiola’s side are second in the Premier League, only two points separate the top three and if Arsenal and Liverpool claim the top two spots, then City could be banished from the Champions League.
The i claim that UEFA are monitoring the links between City and Girona, who recently confirmed that they would be moving 19-year-old winger Savio from Spain to Manchester after a stellar season under head coach Michel.
City could be forced to reduce their stake in Girona if both qualify for the Champions League, similarly to Aston Villa and Brighton after reaching the same European competition as sister teams Vitoria de Guimaraes and Royale Union Saint-Gilloise respectively. Manchester United could face a similar threat once Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s 25 per cent purchase is ratified, as the Brit also owns Ligue 1 side Nice.
UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body will assess the link between City and Girona in the summer if a conflict is confirmed, though without big changes made behind the scenes then both club’s involvement in the Champions League is in doubt.
UEFA’s competition rules state an individual or group cannot have “control or influence” over more than one club playing in the same tournament. If an investigation concludes that individuals within the City Football Group share control over both clubs and are unable to make the necessary changes to their business structure, only the team that finishes higher in their domestic league will be granted permission to play in the Champions League.
The other team will drop into the Europa League. Should Girona and City finish in the same league position, the team with the higher coefficient would be given the nod, which would be City after winning the Champions League last year.