Manchester City have accepted a range of sanctions imposed by UEFA as a result of transgressing the Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations. City were one of nine clubs who have agreed settlements with UEFA, with City and PSG the biggest names involved.
In a statement on the official website there is the clear sense that the club is not happy with the outcome imposed, stating that they "would wish to pursue its case and present its position through every avenue of recourse" but any decision to do so "must be balanced against the practical realities for our fans, for our partners and in the interests of the commercial operations of the Club."
Citing that they had been in constant engagement with UEFA from the outset City feel that the fundamental issue is a disagreement over the interpretations with regard how to treat the status of player contracts signed prior 2010 - with The Guardian reporting that UEFA determined this exemption would apply only to the 2011/12 season - but the City statement confirms that the club have entered into a compromise agreement with UEFA. This, from the club's standpoint, will effectively mean a 'one and done' set of sanctions given the clubs assertion that it "expects to be operating without sanction or restriction at the commencement of the 2015-16 season" and anticipates that it will break even for the financial year ending 31st May 2014.
The outcome of the sanctions agreed means the following:
So what will this mean moving forward? The fine, whilst significant, does not appear to be the most restrictive of the measures imposed with City subject to both a reduced Champions League squad and cap on their wage bill - which covers both domestic and European competition.
City have however confirmed that the transfer cap will have "no material impact on the Club's planned transfer activity" with the figure being a net one (i.e. in addition to any revenues generated by transfer sales). Given the current status of the squad - and reported transfer targets - it is likely that City should be able to complete all transfer activity as anticipated.
With regards to the wage cap it is important to note that in new contracts signed under the Begiristain/Soriano regime there has been a gradual shift towards more incentive based contracts, with reduced basic wages reportedly agreed by players. As bonuses do not count towards the wage cap and with both Roberto Mancini's pay off and high-profile earners such as Joleon Lescott and Gareth Barry departing this too may not be as restrictive as first appears.
The biggest hit will likely be in terms of competing in the Champions League with the size of their squad reduced to 21 players (from 25) with no reduction in the number of eight homegrown players needing to be named. City will point to the fact that they named only a 23-man squad for the 2013/14 season, using only 21.
The sanctions are not unexpected given the trickle of information that came out following the news that the decision had been made that City had not managed to comply with the regulations but will desperately disappoint the club who were reported to have felt they had managed to comply with the requirements.
The full CFCB ruling can be found here.