English Premier League champions Manchester City are facing a possible points deduction and could even be forced to play in League Two in the wake of their Champions League ban by UEFA, experts have warned.
The club was banned by UEFA from European club competitions for two seasons and handed a £25 million fine for “serious breaches” of football’s European governing body’s Financial Fair Play rules.
UEFA’s Adjudicatory Chamber found the club had overstated its sponsorship revenue in accounts submitted between 2012 and 2016.
As well as handing a major boost to the teams battling for fifth place such as Spurs, Chelsea and Sheffield United, the ruling could also have a knock-on effect on the side’s Premier League status.
This is because any club has to supply true information to get a Premier League license, information which would have had to be the same as that supplied to UEFA.
High-level sources have told The Independent that this will force the Premier League to act because of their own licensing which follows on from UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations.
The paper reports that Premier League committees had already discussed possible punishments for City if they were handed a ban by UEFA, with a points deduction now seen as “highly likely”.
Although City have said they will fight to have the ban overturned, sources claim this wouldn’t be the case with any Premier League punishment because of the specific situation.
The Football League recently changed its rules so that any club found in such a situation would be bumped down to League Two.
This would mean City swapping their battles for the top of the table for League Two crunch ties against the likes of Grimsby Town, Forest Green and Port Vale.
Instead of the Manchester derby seeing City take on United in the cauldron of Old Trafford, their nearest league rivals would likely be Salford City, owned by former United legends Phil and Gary Neville, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham.
And while they currently play at some of the biggest and most famous stadiums in Europe, relegation could see them travel to Macclesfield Town’s Moss Rose, where average attendances this season have been just 2,024.
However, forced relegation is seen as a very unlikely scenario in this case.
This hasn’t stopped rival fans trolling their City counterparts in the wake of the ruling.
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