Manchester City facing Champions League ban for potential Financial Fair Play breach
Yves Leterme, chairman and chief investigator of UEFA's Club Control Body, has confirmed that Pep Guardiola's side could face "the heaviest punishment" should reports into the club's breach of Financial Fair Play (FFP) turn out to be accurate.
The allegations stem from reports that the City's billionaire Arab owners pumped £60 million ($75.8 million) into the club's coffers, disguised as sponsorship payments.
"If it is true what has been written, there might be a serious problem," Leterme told Der Spiegel, the publication which initially reported the Football Leaks scandal.
"This can lead to the heaviest punishment: exclusion from the UEFA competitions."Also on rt.com ‘Did he just call Salah a p***y?’ Man City captain Kompany accused of insulting Liverpool star
The leaked documents, which were allegedly obtained via illegal email hacks, state that the club implied the sum came from chief sponsor Etihad Airways, but was instead paid by the Abu Dhabi United Group which controls the Manchester club.
The club signed former Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez for a sum of £60 million ($75.8 million) last summer.
An investigation conducted by Der Spiegel also alleges that City breached FFP rules by £167 million ($211 million) in 2014. They also claim that the club set up a scheme called Project Longbow which disguised payments to players and were hit with an £18 million ($22.7 million) fine as a result.
In response to the allegations, Manchester City say they "will not be providing any comment on out-of-context materials purportedly hacked or stolen from City Football Group and Man City personnel and associated people."
Financial Fair Play was implemented in 2012 to help control the influx of money into the game and to provide smaller, less financially successful clubs ample opportunity to compete on a level playing field.
Turkish clubs Besiktas, Galatasaray, and Bursaspor have all received bans from European football after being found to have contravened the laws.