Manchester City are facing Uefa sanctions for breaching financial fair play rules by which the club would be limited to a 21-man Champions League squad instead of the usual 25 players next season.
City, who are still strongly challenging the settlement offer from Uefa, are also facing a fine in the region of €60 million (£49m) over three years, and a cap imposed for next season to ensure there is no rise on this season’s Champions League A squad wage bill. The reduction in the size of the Champions League squad to 21 would potentially hit the club hardest, and City would also have to ensure that there are still eight locally-trained players in that A squad.
The sanctions are understood to be very similar to those being imposed on Paris Saint Germain – the two clubs are among nine European sides being dealt with by Uefa’s club financial control board (CFCB) for FFP breaches.
City have until the end of the week to reach an agreement with Uefa over the sanctions – but it is understood they are the club furthest away from reaching any final settlement. If no agreement is reached City face the prospect of the case being handed to a panel for a non-negotiable decision.
Uefa has said it is still to be decided what will happen with any money raised from fines for FFP breaches. The fines will not count against a club’s losses for future FFP calculations, meaning they can be paid directly by club owners. Meanwhile, City’s top scorer Sergio Aguero will miss the title favourites’ crunch clash with Aston Villa tonight, manager Manuel Pellegrini has said.
Aguero, who has been plagued by injuries in the second half of the season, limped out of Saturday’s victory at Everton with a groin problem.
City can move two points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League with just one game to play if they beat Villa at the Etihad Stadium. Pellegrini said: “He couldn’t recover 100 per cent from his groin problem, so he is not in the squad list.”
Aguero, who scored his 28th goal of the campaign before leaving the field in the 3-2 win at Goodison Park, has missed 18 of City’s last 31 games with various leg muscle injuries. The 25-year-old, however, has not yet been ruled out of Sunday’s season finale at home to West Ham.
Pellegrini does not accept the claim of his Liverpool counterpart Brendan Rodgers that the title race is effectively over and settled in City’s favour.
Liverpool squandered the chance to apply pressure to City as they surrendered a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 at Crystal Palace on Monday night. The result still took the Reds to the top of the table, but the initiative, because of their game in hand, is now clearly with City. Pellegrini said: “I really don’t know what Brendan said. I only know we have two games and have to win the game against Aston Villa.”